How quick the sun can drop away
And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
Of what was everything
As I'm weeding in the yard this morning, this song comes on and I realize I finally have the words I want to use to begin my review of Persuasion
. I finished the book a few weeks ago, but didn't know how to choose from all the exceptional lines inside. How do I sort through the dialogue and inner thoughts to best express what this story is examining?
And here I am, with the sun beating down and the hoe heavy in my hands, listening to a man lament in my earphones; his lyrics penned 200 years later, but still as perfect and immediate to the novel as Austen's own words. She would have approved.
Anne, having the light go out of her life because of obligation and obedience, spends the next eight years sifting through the shards of what had happened and what might have been. To all around her she's no different, except more pale and quiet perhaps, but inside she's grieving all that has been lost. It colors every aspect of her life now, for the man she loved really was everything
And in this space, Austen explores the nature of sorrow and regret, as well as forgiveness of self. As Maya Angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Compassion for our shortcomings and for our youth go a long way in healing those deep wounds.