Anatole France, a French poet, journalist, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist, once remarked: “Life is too short and Proust is too long.”
Published in a series of seven volumes between the years 1913 and 1927, Marcel Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past is a narrated telling of his own (fictionalized) life story. More than 4,000 pages, it is indeed a very challenging read. His allegorical search for truth is defined by the concept of “involuntary memory” — literally, spontaneous remembrances of things past, flashbacks, triggered by everyday actions, sights, sounds, tastes, smells.
The most famous of Proust’s literary recollections, an evocation of a profound childhood remembrance upon tasting a crumbly, tea-dipped madeleine.*
Dusk is falling faster and faster. High overhead one minute, the next thing you know the sun lunges toward the horizon line, the sky swiftly fading to black. (Save a few bright exceptions.)
Shorter days elicit groans this time of year, but for me, evening meals enjoyed by the soft, flickering glow of candlelight is ambience done right. To borrow from the Danes, it gets me feeling hygge — content, special, warm, loved. Words that also nicely sum up our Thanksgiving.
“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
On my solitary ramble through the meandering rural countryside just west of us this past week, the dank of smell fallen leaves and fresh-cut fields of deer corn were replaced by visibly thick, pervasive wood smoke. It was as if every home in the vicinity had raked up great piles of brush and set them alight simultaneously. I know this isn’t the case, however, and felt rather bad about myself for enjoying that delicious campfire smell.
It’s not terribly apparent in this snap, but a shift in winds on Friday brought a substantial haze all the way over to even our stretch of coastline. This morning, clear blue skies prevailed, and I hope the same can be said about the fire-ravaged areas very soon. For being “the sleepy South,” there’s certainly no shortage of (climatological) excitement this year. Yeesh.