memory, death and life

[Our community has been touched by death twice in recent days – once at the loss of David Stewart, who contributed so much to memories at SSU, and even more recently at the loss of Debbie MacDonald’s daughter, Tammy, after a long and brave journey with cancer. These losses made me appreciate this passage from a novel by Wendell Berry:]

Back there at the beginning, as I see now, my life is almost entirely memory and very little time. Toward the end of my life at Squire’s Landing I began to understand that whenever death happened, it happened to me. That is knowledge that takes a long time to wear in. Finally it wears in. Finally I realized and fully accepted that one day I would belong entirely to memory, and it would not be my memory that I belonged to….

Some days, sitting here on my porch over the river, my memory seems to enclose me entirely; I wander back in my reckoning among all of my own that have lived and died until I no longer remember where I am. And then I lift my head and look about me at the river and the valley, the great, unearned beauty of this place, and I feel the memoryless joy of a man risen from the grave.

– Wendell Berry, from Jayber Crow

2 thoughts on “memory, death and life”

  1. The excerpt from Wendell Berry is well chosen and especially poignant as the SSU community walks through this season of sorrow. Walter, I love the quote, and especially the way it concludes, because I too can “…feel the memoryless joy of a man risen from the grave.”

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