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Faintly falling, falling faintly

Posted Dec 13 2010 5:32pm
It's hard not to believe one is living on an entirely different planet when I open my door to a blue sky, blazing sun and eighty degrees this December afternoon. My son called me into the living room before he left for school to show me footage of the sports dome in Minnesota caving in from the recent obliterating snowstorm. Many of the blogs I visit and read have photos of trees encased in ice, children bundled up in boots with rosy cheeks and pots of chunky soups simmering on stoves. My son Oliver's cheeks are rosy, too, but mainly because he played a quarter-final soccer game this weekend in downtown Los Angeles where the temperature probably spiked at 85 degrees. Yesterday, we finished decorating our Christmas tree, not beside a crackling fire but with the door wide open because The Husband and I are not going to turn on the air-conditioner in mid-December, damnnit! I am not too bothered by the lack of holiday appropriate weather because I actually despise snow and cold weather. And while it's a bit irritating to still be wearing a tee-shirt with no sweater when you're out and about, getting ready for the two-week Christmas vacation, I comfort myself with one of my favorite passages in Irish literature.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, on the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

--  from James Joyce's The Dead

You can watch a clip from John Huston's equally mesmerizing movie by clicking HERE  (embedding the video is blocked). I highly recommend watching the whole four minutes or so, particularly the end.

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