Desiring truth, awaiting it, laboriously distilling a few words, for ever desiring—(a cry starts to the left, another to the right. Wheels strike divergently. Omnibuses conglomerate in conflict)—for ever desiring—(the clock asseverates with twelve distinct strokes that it is midday; light sheds gold scales; children swarm)—for ever desiring truth. . . . ~ from Virginia Woolf's "Monday or Tuesday" Read the whole very short piece here.
Distilling a few words . . . for ever desiring truth.
Desiring truth, and distilling words. I wonder if there is a better example of this practice than VW's little piece. Very close attention to not only the heron, but to her own (VW's) environs, to the moment of light, even to a memory recollected on the path commenced via this vision.
In this short "fiction" of Virginia Woolf's from the collection of the same title (do read this short piece if you haven't before, linked above), she begins and ends a vision of a heron with the descriptive phrase "Lazy and indifferent."
Does the heron only seem lazy and indifferent to the observer, while she labors over her deep attentiveness? Is she participating in active staring as I like to call it?
Last week when I felt low and decided to simply sit and do nothing for an hour (nothing? is it possible to do nothing?) I came to and found these words by Jeff Foster (thanks to the beauty we love):
We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level, as a profound, and very misunderstood, state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own false story of ourselves ...
How often do I feel lazy and indifferent! Yet, is it not just a label, a perception? A false story as Jeff Foster puts it? To read this VW piece closely, I see that the heron knows his way. The heron's stars are veiled. The heron does his work! He lives, he moves, he flies in and out of his life. Could we do better as writers (as livers) than to observe a moment, distilled in words that erupt out of our own life's reality, as complete in one moment as in the wingspan of a lifetime?