Monday, October 16, 2023

To forget

From Kevin Williamson's newsletter today, on a favorite chapter:
One of the few scenes in a book that will reliably make me tear up a little is the episode in The Wind in the Willows when Rat and Mole go looking for Otter’s lost son, Portly, who has wandered off. They fear that something awful might have happened to him. Of course, Rat and Mole end up far from home and possibly in danger themselves, when they encounter the Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the divine “Friend and Helper” who looks after lost animals and other innocents. He delivers Portly to them and sets them back safely on their way, and then gives them one last blessing: They forget. The memory of the awe and majesty of that divine presence would have robbed the animals of the innocence and simplicity for which they were made, and, so, they forget, catching only a snatch of music and the words sung to it: “Lest the awe should dwell—And turn your frolic to fret—You shall look on my power at the helping hour—But then you shall forget!” To forget can be a blessing. But we aren’t all innocents, and life isn’t The Wind in the Willows.

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