I spent the last two days (and all of the ink in a brand-new gel pen) devouring this novel.
I understand that it's highly improbable Wendell Berry wrote this book
for the sole purpose of making me happy;
but it accomplished that task so well it's hard for me to completely accept the fact.
"The living can't quit living because the world has turned terrible and the people they love and need are killed. They can't because they don't. The light that shines in darkness and never goes out calls them on into life. It calls them back again into that great room. It calls them into their bodies and into the world, whatever the world will require. It calls them into work and pleasure, goodness and beauty, and the company of other loved ones."
"And so an old woman, sitting by the fire, waiting for sleep, makes her reckoning, naming over the names of the dead and the living, which are the names of her gratitude. What will be remembered, Andy Catlett, when we are gone? What will finally become of this lineage of people who have been members one of another? I don't know. And yet their names and their faces, what they did and said, are not gone, are not 'the past,' but still are present to me, and I give thanks."
"Life without expectations was still life, and life was still good. The light that had lighted us into this world was lighting us through it. We loved each other and lived right on. We sat down to the food we had grown and ate it and praised it and were thankful for it. We suffered the thoughts of the nights and at dawn woke up and went back to work. The world that so often had disappointed us and made us sorrowful sometimes made us happy by surprise."
"Sometimes, a haunted old woman, I wander about in this house that Nathan and I renewed, that is now aged and worn by our life in it. How many steps, wearing the thresholds? I look at it all again. Sometimes it fills to the brim with sorrow, which signifies the joy that has been here, and the love. It is entirely a gift."
Finishing it up flying over patchwork farms and pine trees,
heading back into my quiet and joyful Oregon life,
was pretty perfect.