Monday, August 03, 2015

Katherine Anne Porter - a second helping

This paragraph in Katherine Anne Porter's short story Holiday rang so true to me. I read it during a week I was alone at home, and enjoying the solitude, and it described very exactly how I felt.

In this story, set in the 1910s or 20s (I am not sure) the narrator goes to stay with a German-American family in deep rural Texas. The family (with children, sons and daughters in laws, grand children) speaks in German so he does not understand what they talk about.

"I liked the thick warm voices, and it was good not to have to understand what they were saying. I loved that silence which means freedom from the constant pressure of other minds and other opinions and other feelings, that freedom to fold up in quiet and go back to my own center, to find out again, for it is always a rediscovery, what kind of creature it is that rules me finally, makes all the decisions no matter who thinks they make them, even Il who little by little takes everything away except the one thing I cannot live without, and who will one day say, 'Now I am all you have left - take me'. I paused there a good while listening to this muted unknown language which was silence with music in it; I could be moved and touched but not troubled by it, as by the crying of frogs or the wind in the trees".