In the tumultuous sixties, as an undergraduate at Harvard (for which I have prayed for forgiveness most of my life), I was disappointed again and again by the common Victorian and early twentieth-century convention of beginning a chapter with lush description and then abandoning it in favor of social interaction, philosophical reflection, and plot development. Nature was treated mainly as a stage direction: “Night. Wind in the pines. Soldiers around a campfire.” Even such details as those were to me more evocative and meaningful than much that followed, dry and disconnected from the universal language of creation that is the grammar and syntax of great art because it is the language given to us in the fullest and deepest measure.
Falling Into Eternity continued at First Things March 2017.