Wednesday, September 24, 2008

At Peace

I try to keep a steady supply of books-on-tape coming from the library, to keep me company as I sew and craft. I recently stumbled across the name of Sarah Orne Jewett, a 19th century woman who wrote about life in Maine. Lo and behold, the library had a copy of her most famous novella, Country of the Pointed Firs, and also A White Heron and Other Stories. I had read a brief tidbit of Sarah's work in my college American Lit class, but only for class. Little did I know what I missed as I skimmed that section.




The Cape Elizabeth lighthouse, available from Allposters



Sarah's delicate renderings of a summer on the coast of Maine are like a beautiful watercolor -- she catches the tone, the depth, the color of every character she describes and every incident she records. She paints a scene with her pen, bringing it to life in some mysterious way. I have always been fascinated by Maine, by the craggy and breathtaking landscape of its coastline; now I understand why.

I was unwilling for the story to end. As it came to a close, I felt a sense of loss. I had grown to love Mrs. Todd and her sweet mother, the wise old sea captains, and the anonymous narrator herself, as if they were real people. I long -- I think every person longs -- for the peace and simplicity that Sarah describes in daily village life. Simple, it may be called, and yet deeper and more real than any other kind of living. As the narrator looked back with regret on a summer at Dunnett Landing, I longed to be by her side as the ship pulled out of harbor -- if only to catch a glimpse in person of the beauty and simplicity she had painted on paper. I don't often feel such pain -- or such peace -- when I finish a book.

It's a good thing I still have A White Heron to listen to.

6 comments:

  1. Happiness is...

    :) Thanks for sharing your happiness.

    Emma

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  2. Have you heard of Librivox.org? it has lots of classics as free audio downloads. I got Preide and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables to listen to when I sew.

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  3. Oh I love audio books too! They're great when you're not in the mood for music, but want something to listen to. They're also great for killing time on car journeys. Some favourites are the Narnia chronicles read by Sir Michael Hordern, Jennings read by Stephen Fry (which is hilarious!) and Three Men in a boat (also hilarious).

    The books you mentioned sound lovely!

    Rachel xxxx

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  4. Audio books are so good companions for crafty people like ourselves! Just today I got David Copperfield from the library knowing I HAVE to sew some this week.

    Maria

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  5. Erin, I had heard of librivox, but never really checked it out. Thanks for the tip!

    Rachel, thanks for the suggestions -- I will certainly have to look them up. Of course, I'd probably like anything read by Stephen Fry :-) Our library booksale is coming up next week, and I'm hoping to find some audiobooks there!

    Maria, ironically enough, my sister and I are currently listening to "David Copperfield" as we sew! Great minds think alike? :-)

    Yours in Christ,
    Shannon

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  6. I love listening to audio while I sew. I always feel I need to be doing at least 2 things at once to use my time wisely! LOL! You have a beautiful blog.
    Tammy

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