Another person's seeing allows me to look more deeply into the images they have chosen- to appreciate what they have noticed, that I may have overlooked, and sometimes to understand the different ways in which we perceive beauty.
No, none of the above.
I just start writing on the computer, typing my way, with only one finger. I read it out-loud, again and again, to hear the cadence and my choice of words. I am generally surprised by the trail these words take; by the circuitous route of my thoughts.
It is particularly focused on the intense and often controlling relationship between Ella and Lena, her intellectually disabled first offspring. Ella's caring and her almost undivided attention towards Lena, both encompass her life and give her life purpose.
The story unfolds through layered flashbacks in the space of one day in 1978, when Ella is now elderly and her mind has begun to wander.
'Ella looked out the window and tried to imagine a future without herself. The world would not need her any more than it had needed her before she was born.' She envisioned these three women sitting together, having lunch without her, 'stealing their lives beyond her.' How then would she belong to them?
She wanted to come along too.
Her only recourse was to sit straight and clasp her hands like a person who was strong and independent. To banish thoughts of her death.
David Suzuki, in Letters To My Grandchildren, muses about our existence in a different manner. He recognizes that our individual existence is transitory. We come into this world and we disappear from it...where did we come from? ..and where do we go? He talks about people's attempts through time to live on, at least in people's memory: monuments built, art and music and literature created. He talks too of religions making promises of something greater beyond this life.
For Suzuki, all life is a miracle and death a critical necessity. As a geneticist, he argues that 'without death, there can be no change, no evolution,' and continues that 'evolution is necessary to adapt to the constantly changing conditions of Earth.'
This intellectual understanding does not necessarily bring a comfortable acceptance of death. Suzuki tells his grandchildren that he doesn't think about it much except 'to know that we're all going to go through it and that it will be a very lonely trip.'
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