Sunday, October 19, 2014

Part VII: The Canyon

Savoring the end of Angle of Repose today in Dumbarton Oaks Park (which, oddly enough, I'd never really explored before..) I came across this passage:
Then a volume in limp leather, tooled and stamped in gold: Tennyson's Idyls of the King, bound for her by Frank Sargent as a gift on her thirty-eighth birthday.  She let it fall open, and of course what did it open to?  "The old order changes, yielding place to the new." 
...she glanced out the window, down across the hill and the river with its parabola of a bridge, and by one of those coincidences that happen all the time in Victorian novels, but that nevertheless sometimes happen in life too, there was Frank Sargent unsaddling his sorrel horse Dan at the corral gate.
It was as if she had thought him into existence again, as if her mind were a flask into which had been poured a measure of longing, a measure of discontent, a measure of fatigue, a dash of bitterness, and pouf,  there he stood.  Gladness and guilt hit her like waves meeting at an angle on a beach.
That last paragraph.  That angle.  It's not quite the angle of repose, but..   Stegner's writing, when you pay close attention to it, is subtle and surprising and oh-so-rich.

The (view from the) reading spot:

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