Wow. I’m (finally) reading The Swerve, and loving it. Sometimes I need to keep my fiction appetite for my own (which I’ve vowed to get in fighting shape before summer, we’ll see about that). I also read a long excerpt from Behind the Beautiful Forevers which I will probably end up buying/borrowing.
There is great value in narrative non-fiction, for it makes the unfamiliar, the ancient, come alive, become relevant. I will never forget a visit I made when I was in my 20’s to the ruins of Medinat al-Zahra in Córdoba.
The archaeologist who I was with used his words to make the crumbling ruins rise to their full glory, telling us of the mercury fountains, the gardens about which exotic animals roamed, the palace…all of which was buried in mud and unearthed after nearly a thousand years.
This was not my first ruin, but it changed forever the way I look at the past. It changed forever the way I look at all things closed and crumbly, knowing that there may be sparkling mercury pools within, that it’s just a matter of chiseling away at the caked mud which covers them.
I hadn’t planned on posting today, but as I waded about in a sea of bla-bla-bla valentine’s soup in my daily review of the news and blogs, etc., I came across this piece of perfection, which I thought I’d share a nibble of (although I suggest you read the full post, here). It’s really just so lovely.
I have a habit of proposing to my husband. I do it all the time. I see him standing at our shelf, pulling some article of clothing out and holding it up to see if he wants to wear it, and my heart gets a little bigger. “Can I marry you?” I ask. “Yes.” “Today?” “Let’s do it!” he says.
Or, we sit next to each other on the couch. I hug his arm. (He has very huggable arms.)
“Can I live with you forever?” “Can we spend our lives together?” “I would really like to marry you.” There are many ways that I ask. His answer is always the same. Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. I’d love to. YES.
I’m goofy, I know, but this is what faithfulness is really about isn’t it? Saying “I will marry you,” over and over and over and over. Even if you’re the husband and cute girls are always making eyes at you, or you’re the wife and you can tell that guy at the café finds you attractive, which is flattering because you feel like an old mom who is always picking toys out of the cracks in the furniture.
You turn away from them and say, “I want to marry you,” right to your husband or wife. You say it again and again and again with your presence. Marriage is a greenhouse for love. The greenhouse is wild and deep and grows remarkable things that can’t be grown over night. Some flowers take ten years to grow. Some, sixty.
The greenhouse is interesting and funny and witty and wild.
This is love.