Friday, October 7, 2011

TC: Humility


"Oh, don't hurt me! cried Tom. I only want to look at you; you are so handsome": Jessie Willcox Smith, in Charles Kingsley: The Water Babies, 1916 (Library of Congress)

There are a great many things in the world which you never heard of; and a great many more which nobody ever heard of; the picture of happiness which you harbor is steeped through and through in the time which the course of your own existence has conferred on you; and this could equally be a picture of unhappiness; and you would never know it.

An underwater shot looking up at a palm tree and clouds distorted by the ripples on the surface: photo by Bryan Calloway, 4 November 2010


Nin Andrews said...

This is beautiful, and precisely the thought I was working on this morning, but not so perfectly stated. THANK YOU for this!

TC said...

Thank you, Nin. Perhaps true happiness is looking upon something handsome, from an almost safe distance, fathoms beneath the surface.

A bit tentatively, at least at first, of course.

ACravan said...

The photo of the tree up through the water is spectacular and reminds me both of dreams I've had, things I've seen just before breaking the water's surface myself, and how I often seem to see things when I'm simply awake in the so-called here and now. Reading through this and looking at the photos, I wondered about other titles that you might have given the piece that I would also have understood and found appropriate. Humility is good, but for me (unfortunately, I think), Fear and Apprehension both also might fit. I think this is terrific and I'm thinking of this a lot along with Lotus as I stroll the seashore in Chatham, MA looking for a couple of things I seem to have lost in the sand. Curtis

TC said...


The picture is amazing.

"A couple of things I seem to have lost in the sand" would make a lovely title for your memoirs.

Perhaps they'll turn up one day...

ACravan said...

Now for the amazing part. What I had apparently lost in the sand was our camera. We were at our first get-together with our China adoption group enjoying the sunset at Harding's beach in Chatham, MA. I felt terrible about the camera, but apparently Mrs. Roberts felt worse and remarks followed about carelessness. These stung and hanging onto the bad mood yesterday morning I drove back to the beach three times at the crack of dawn (after two return trips the night before) to survey the very flat sand and parking lot scene. No camera, just fishermen and a beautiful sunrise. Feeling black, I tried to repair things somewhat by buying coffee at Danny's PX (a sound but weird little place, brimming with New England's brand of mixed hospitality and hostility) to bring back to the motel room. I then saw my camera on the roof of our small car. How on earth it wasn't shaken free by all the turns, curves, and emotional driving, I don't know. It just goes on the increasingly long list of magical phenomena I've been lucky enough to witness. By the way, I'm not careless. I am a little forgetful. But I'll never forget that photo through the water. Curtis

TC said...

And I'll never forget that story, Curtis,

It has the feeling of one of those nightmarish fairytales that prove to have a miraculous happy ending in which it is dimly perceived that all the trials and torments that have come before were merely intended to make the serendipitous reward and ultimate total vindication seem all that much the more unexpected -- and sweet.