Saturday, January 28, 2017

The marvel

"For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. Whatever the unborn and the dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos."

D.H. Lawrence, lover of beauty, of nature, of being alive, wrote that in 1929, when he knew he was dying from tuberculosis. The famous English author died in 1930 in Vence, France, at the age of 44, after a life of poverty, ill-health and disappointment at the suppression of his books.

In Portrait of A Genius, But..., Richard Adlington paints Lawrence as a troubled and difficult man, but a bright and unusual spirit who lived life to the full. As Lawrence's longtime friend Catherine Carswell wrote after his death, "he did nothing that he did not really want to do, and all that he most wanted to do he did. He went all over the world, he owned a ranch, he lived in the most beautiful corners of Europe, and met whom he wanted to meet and told them that they were wrong and he was right. He painted and made things, and sang and rode."

Adlington writes that when the young Lawrence took people for walks in the countryside, he made them seem so thrilling that the participants remembered them decades later. "However much Lawrence might be absorbed in talking on such a walk he noticed everything, 'the first to see the baby rabbit or cock-pheasant, the first primrose' as he walked 'briskly along with his lithe, light step, tirelessly observant, his eager eyes taking everything in.'"

I've seen a few snowdrops popping up in my walks in the last few days, but this little patch in my neighbour Audrey's garden is actually blooming.  The sight of the spring's first snowdrops came as I finished a biography of  D.H. Lawrence, who loved nature and always appreciated and noticed flowers. I thought D.H. would have paid attention to these.

1 comment:

  1. Quite the snowdrops! I didn't know that about Lawrence...nature and noticing flowers. Vence is quite an amazing place. It's where the Matisse Chapel is. One of my favourite structures in the world. Well, Notre Dame de Paris will always be my favourite.