A morning walk with Toni Morrison


Author Toni MorrisonI took the dogs out for their usual walk in the woods early this morning, listening to the tail end of a podcast in honor of Toni Morrison.   In it were readings from her works and passages from her Nobel Prize lecture, as well as reflections about her contributions to literature and the power of the written (and in her case, spoken) word.  Ever since I had heard about her passing, I’ve been reading and listening to many such podcasts, although it’s been many years since I’ve read any of Morison’s works themselves.  I cannot bring myself to read Beloved or The Bluest Eye again, books which shook me to my core.  And I cannot find the notebooks in which I’ve copied down quotes from the books I love – there is a box of them somewhere amidst the boxes I have yet to pack when I moved up to live permanently at the farm last summer.  That being the case, podcasts and recordings of her interviews will have to do as a way to personally honor a writer I so revere.

We had reached our half way point when the podcast ended.  There is a gate leading to someone’s hunting cabin at this juncture, and the moss covered remnants of a long stone wall flanking the gate and rambling through the woods until it ends in a mound of rocks and fallen trees.  Early morning sunlight filtered through the treetops and fell gently on a swath of dew laden ferns.  I immediately reached for my iphone, wanting to capture the sight with photograph or two.

Something Morrison had said over the course of one of the podcasts I’d been listening to, came to mind:

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.” 

I put my phone away, and just stood as still as I could, savoring the feeling of enough.

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