Friday, April 23, 2010

A skinny young boy holds his breath and dives into the mouth of an underwater cave — a lacuna — swimming toward pale blue light as his lungs scream for oxygen. He emerges, gasping, in a ghostly cenote, a sinkhole in the Mexican jungle fringed with broken coral, wedged with human bones: a place of sacrifice and buried remembrance. When the tide rushes out, it will take the boy with it, “dragging a coward explorer back from the secret place, sucking him out through the tunnel and spitting him into the open sea.” He’ll paddle to shore and walk home, obsessed forever after by hidden passages that contain deeper meanings — meanings that only art may recapture. He’ll acquire a notebook and fill it with stories and memories; when it’s full, he’ll begin another and then another. But were he to consign these notebooks to the scrapheap, how would their mysteries be known? Who dares plunge into the wreckage of a discarded history, not knowing the risks of retrieval?

Barbara Kingsolver’s Artists and Idols

Published: November 5, 2009

No comments:

Post a Comment