Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Have you seen this painting I'm thinking of? Italian, 15th century, no angel. It is just a young woman, one hand raised, certain that the air has changed around her, an unseen event has occurred, a decision not her own will now guide her life. She will no longer be herself or an individual or anything she can recognize as the girl she was even one minute ago. She is now and will ever be a tunnel, a conduit, a sheath that held something miraculous and then, at another moment, no longer did. She is a means, not an end. She is a pathway, not a goal. Her very self will be flattened to let the goal be what it is and she, whether willing or unwilling, will now be that flattened thing.
And her will? What has will to do with this life as she is living it? Will, as she sees it construed by men, is illusion. She holds herself ready; then it begins, then the unsheathing leaves her flattened. Only then is she free to be an individual, a self. But not to the unsheathed one. To that baby, she is a god, then an embarrassment, then an annoyance, then a shore left behind long ago.

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