Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Plague and Sor Juana

Life and literature intersect and enrich each other, building meanings and curiousities. As I walk through town in Madison, South Dakota, I see dead birds on the ground. These tend to be smallish birds, so it is possible that they are just youngsters that didn't make the natural selection cut (cold and heartless--please also see Tennyson's In Memoriam). On the other hand, it sets me to thinking of Camus's The Plague, how it begins with rats here and there being dead, and people not thinking much of it until there are quantities of rats and then . . . So what am I saying? Something apocalyptic is afoot and underfoot? West Nile Virus? I really do wonder. . .

On a more cheerful note, my young brilliant daughter (one of them--they are all young and brilliant) was commenting as she was setting the table or some such thing: you can learn whatever you do, and was starting to do some counting or other numeric activity relative to the lights in a chandelier or something. Ah, it reminds me of Sor Juana in her letter to Sor Filotea: how one can learn (in a powerful, intellectual sense) even while cooking. This connection built my appreciation for my daughter's natural drive for knowledge and put it in the context of great female thinkers. Am I boasting? Forgive me; it is not my intention.


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