I am going to attempt to revive this blog from its 4-5 months of slumber. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up any remaining readers. I began Discarded Image with several reviews and things were moving along well, but a combination of factors—e.g. a new house and increased professorial duties—just about killed any time I had to blog. To add to that, I teach both traditional and online courses, and the courses online are a lot like blogging, so at the end of the day, it gets hard to get back online and write even more after already having done so much online for my classes. Writing, however, is the only way I really know for thinking through ideas. So yes, I feel compelled to push forward, writing either here or somewhere.
I’ll be making some changes here and there to this blog, but it’s theme remains the same. Books remain central to this blog, particularly whatever I’m reading at the moment. This blog is about thinking aloud, speculation, and the endless pursuit of self-awareness. To put it another way, it is about questioning my very soul, discarding old images for better ones—those that make sense of the world. (For more on this blog’s theme, see the “about” page.) It living ontologically, as that great Episcopalian Madeleine L’engle would say.
So I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from her Circle of Quiet (6)
From the stone wall to the brook takes two balls of twine. Unreliable eyes make my vision variable, and there are days when my string path is extremely helpful, although, as my husband remarks, “All anybody who wants to find your secret hideout needs to do is climb the stone wall and follow the string.”
That’s all right. All secret places need to be shared occasionally. So the string guides me across a high ridge where there are large outcroppings of glacial stone, including our special star-watching rock. Then the path becomes full of tussocks and hummocks; my legs are etched by the thorns of blackberry brambles and wild roses. Earlier this summer the laurel burst from snow into fire, and a few weeks later we found a field of sweet wild strawberries. And then there are blueberry bushes, not very many, but a few, taller than I am and, to me, infinitely beautiful.
The burning bush: somehow I visualize it as much like one of these blueberry bushes. The bush burned, was alive with flame and was not consumed. Why? Isn’t it because, as a bush, it was perfect? It was exactly as a bush is meant to be. A bush certainly doesn’t have the opportunity for prideful and selfish choices, for self-destruction, that we human beings do. It is. It is a pure example of ontology. Ecology–ontology–the words fascinate me. Ontology is one of my son-in-law’s favorite words, and I’m apt to get drunk on words, to go on jags; ontology is my jag for this summer….Ontology: the word about the essence of things; the word about being.
I go to the brook because I get out of being, out of the essential. So I’m not like the bush, then. I put all my prickliness, selfishness, in-turnedness, on to my isness; we all tend to, and when we burn, this part of us is consumed. When I go past the tallest blueberry bush, where my twine is tied to one of the branches, I think that the part of us that has to be burned away is something like the deadwood on the bush; it has to go, to be burned in the terrible fire of reality, until there is nothing left but our ontological selves; what we are meant to be.