Arts

The Timeless World of the Ancient Thompson Valley

When you enter a story, the story is changed by your entrance.

Here in the Thompson, we pass a juniper and a boulder, cross paths with a young pine, and approach the cliff face on which the story is written.

Or, rather, anchored. Figures come into focus left and right, out of peripheral vision.

We pass them. And yet they anchor us, and out of their shape and position, a relationship forms.

The bear and cub below, for instance, look out behind us, on guard.

Now we are in a state of hyper acuity. Mind and nature have joined, so to speak. So when anything changes, like, for instance, the sudden flight of a doe and her yearling…

it passes through the state we have been placed in, and changes it, just as we changed it by arriving. The stone does not change, and has not spoken. It can’t. It’s stone.

Yet it provides a ground on which intimate knowledge, and relationships, are made alive, in a conception in which body and mind are not separated.

And so the cleft in stone gives forth not only juniper, daughter of water and fire, and deer, which the slope takes away to the left, but places them within a body that your mind becomes one with when you enter its relationships. When you leave, it remains as your memory. When you return, you do not return in “time” (that is a concept foreign to this earth) but to the change in relationships.

It is not translatable into “meaning.” It is not that kind of world. Meaning requires intention. The significance here exceeds meaning.

5 replies »

  1. I only understand the first few pages. C.S. Lewis on Barfield: “Writing about Barfield in his 1956 book Surprised by Joy, Lewis spoke of him as a friend
    who disagrees with you about everything. He is not so much the alter ego as the anti-self. Of course he shares your interests . . . But he has approached them all at a different angle. He has read all the right books but has got the wrong thing out of every one . . . How can he be so nearly right and yet, invariably, just not right? He is as fascinating (and infuriating) as a woman. When you set out to correct his heresies, you find he forsooth has decided to correct yours! And then you go at it, hammer and tongs, far into the night . . . more often like mutually respectful enemies than friends . . . Out of this perpetual dogfight a community of mind and a deep affection emerge . . . I think he changed me more than I him.”

    What I remember about Barfield’s book (SAVING THE APPEARANCES–check out the allusion in the title) is his opening comments about the reality of the thing we call a rainbow. I understand him to say that neither objectivism nor subjectivism can explain its reality, but the observer participates in the reality. Beyond that, most of his thinking is too hard for me. cg

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    • Thanks! What a great introduction. I will get my hammer and tongs into shape, and Lewis, Barfield and Rhenisch can bang at rainbows until late in the night! You coming? There’s a bottle of wine kicking around.

      >

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