Normally death came at night, taking a person in their sleep, stopping their heart or tickling them awake, leading them to the bathroom with a splitting headache before pouncing and flooding their brain with blood. It waits in alleys and metro stops. After the sun goes down plugs are pulled by white-clad guardians and death is invited into an antiseptic room.But in the country death comes, uninvited, during the day. It takes fishermen in their longboats. It grabs children by the ankles as they swim. In winter it calls them down a slope too steep for their budding skills, and crosses their skies at the tips. It waits along the shore where snow met ice not long ago but now, unseen by sparkling eyes, a little water touches the shore, and the skater makes a circle slightly larger than intended. Death stands in the woods with a bow and arrow at dawn and dusk. And it tugs cars off the road in broad daylight, the tires spinning furiously on ice or snow, or bright autumn leaves.
The desert and the ocean are realms of desolation on the surface.The desert is a place of bones, where the innards are turned out, to desiccate into dust.The ocean is a place of skin, rich outer membranes hiding thick juicy insides, laden with the soup of being.Inside out and outside in. These are worlds of things that implode or explode, and the only catalyst that determines the direction of eco-movement is the balance of water.Both worlds are deceptive, dangerous. Both, seething with hidden life.The only veil that stands between perception of what is underneath the desolate surface is your courage.Dare to breach the surface and sink.
[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha.
Lisa was thinking, as she climbed the apparently unending staircase, the she had taken pretty long odds. She had not hesitated to buck the Tiger, Life. Simon Iff had warned her that she was acting on impulse. But--on the top of that--he had merely urged her to be true to it. She swore once more that she would stick to her guns. The black mood fell from her. She turned and looked upon the sea, now far below. The sun, a hollow orb of molten glory, hung quivering in the mist of the Mediterranean; and Lisa entered for a moment into a perfect peace of spirit. She became once with Nature, instead of a being eternally at war with it.
Had there been a Papist among the crowd of Puritans, he might have seen in this beautiful woman, so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity, which so many illustrious painters have vied with one another to represent; something which should remind him, indeed, but only by contrast, of that sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world. Here, there was the taint of of deepest sin in the most sacred of quality of human life, working such effect, that the world was only the darker for this woman's beauty, and the more lost for the infant that she had borne.