Jun 9, 2013

Back to Life

Both the glorious city of Prague and its majestic, serene river, the Vltava or Moldau (take your pick), have returned to some semblance of normal. The flood waters are receding - slowly - having caused far less damage than the 2002 floods. The beautiful, wide embankments which are such a pleasure to walk upon, are still under water, about four feet. But the subways are open, the cafes are bustling, the days are glorious and sunny, and the swans have returned to their peaceful meanderings along he river shore. 

And I have finally adjusted to living with one eye, for the time being, and have already returned to work and back on the computer. Lots of work ahead of me, with summer camp coming up and work on my novel. Everything  feels fine and peaceful and I'm looking forward to lots of good reading, including a list of great spy novels, with Red Sparrow at the top of the list.

I just finished Barara Kingsolver's harrowing, deeply moving novel, Flight Behavior, which explores the horrors of climate change as seen through the eyes of an ordinary, struggling Tennesee housewife. One of the most frightening literary novels I've read in some time, for the very effective way it drives home the impending disaster coming down upon all of us. To borrow an image used by one of the scientists in the book, think 'Niagra Falls,' you are in a canoe, the roar is deafening, the abyss is in view and there is no turning back for a slow paddle back to shore. The story revolves around the stunning discovery of a colony of thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies, who have bypassed their usual yearly migrating site in Mexico and landed insread in a forest in rural, Bible Belt Tennessee. The locals see it as an act of Divine Grace;  the scientists, however, are grief stricken as they witness the extinction process of a beautiful species. Yet the book actually succeedes in ending on a note of some hope for the human community, as the crisis itself brings people together into new forms of cooperation.  Deeply spiritual message, which reminds me of mystical activist, Andrew Harvey's latest book, The Hope.


William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, I've been thinking of you as I read news from Prague. I'm glad the waters are receding, and also continue to think of you with the recovery of your eye.

Thanks for giving us the good review of Barbara Kingsolver's novel. I saw it last week in a bookstore and wondered if I should read it (I couldn't get through her last novel, hence my hesitation). Now I know I have to read it!

Richard Jayden Cameron said...

Thanks, Bill. The ending to Kingsolver's novel may not be quite as hopeful as I made out in the review, but there are signs of hope within the human community towards the end - an increasing sense of our interconnectedness with all species and all of life on the planet and the growing awareness that 'earth without a soul' may not be worth saving after all, to borrow a phrase from another reviewer, if all we are left with is 'a parking lot for humans.' No monarch butterflies, no coral reefs, what is left for our children? The book has seared my soul in a way that no scientific report ever could.

Terence Weldon said...

Good indeed, Jayden, to know of progress being made.

It's important to have linked reports of the flooding, and a novel warning of environmental catastrophe. Flooding along any riverside, like tornadoes in the US South, is a natural phenomenon, part of the complex ecosystem - but the increasing frequency and severity of these is a clear sign of higher level disturbances to that system.

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