Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday commute xv: les très riches heures

A year ago today, this simple and instantly comprehensible photo-graph was published in a series of quiet aperçus of a ski trip. I have waited until today to re-publish it, without permission, as one of the handful of those queries we all receive in life, along the lines of, So, what the heck are you doing?

I have waited, but I haven't planned. Now, there is another ski trip, and illumination figures still as one of its fundamental qualities. It likely always will, it's the touchstone of all the fellow's images.

I'm looking for it, and so are you. Here's his advice, as I under-stand it. Don't come here, don't go there. Go where you lead your-self, possibly quite nearby.

When I was concluding a liberal education at one of the universities we note for the wrong reasons, and it was necessary to compose an impression of oneself for admissions committees at the next rail stop, I wrote one to the place in Connecticut in candid anxiety toward entering a trade school, after something approaching paradise. These remarks took the form of a comment on The Razor's Edge, by a man more famous today for his ex-wife than for himself, dreading the pursuit of that narrative of spiritual discovery in reverse. I commend that story to people who look at these pictures; they're from a tradesman, you could say, searching where he leads himself, wherever he is sent, a Learned Hand of light.

i and ii , Ivan Terestchenko

W. Somerset Maugham
The Razor's Edge
William Heinemann, 1944©

Learned Hand
Student of Santayana and William James
as an undergraduate; of Ames and Thayer
in the law school; Chief Judge of the US
2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, New York,
1941-1951; gentleman, skeptic, genius.


  1. All lights cast shadows.

  2. I'm going to betray my weakness in quantum physics so far as to suggest that it isn't light which casts shadows, at all, but mass in its path. If the shadow is the absence of light, it can scarcely be attributed to light, do you think?