I have spent the last days re-reading one of my favourite books, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim. If you haven’t read it, and want to emerge from the last page smiling and at peace, then do. It is a beautiful, heart-warming book. (And the film they made of it, surprisingly, recreates this warmth and beauty wonderfully.)
And, as usually happens when one reads, up popped some words which echo so much that I feel expresses my wonder at the depths and awesomeness of human life.
“She pulled her wrap closer round her with a gesture of defence, of keeping out and off. She didn’t want to grow sentimental. Difficult not to, here; the marvellous night stole in through all one’s chinks, and brought in with it, whether one wanted them or not, enormous feelings, - feelings one couldn’t manage, great things about death and time and waste; glorious and devastating things, magnificent and bleak, at once rapture and terror and immense, heart-cleaving longing. She felt small and dreadfully alone. She felt uncovered and defenceless. Instinctively she pulled her wrap closer. With this thing of chiffon she tried to protect herself from the eternities.”
Perhaps we can never truly protect ourselves from the eternities, nor should we. We should be awed by them, often frightened by them, but always, always acknowledge their presence.