Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Odd tears

Rosa Parks seems to have lived a long and beautiful life. I'm pleased that she is getting so much praise on the news today. I'm also reminded of Sarah Vowell's comedic essay on public figures who have inappropriately compared themselves to Rosa Parks. (The essay appears in Vowell's The Partly Cloudy Patriot.)

I didn't cry over Rosa Parks' passing. But I did start sobbing a minute ago upon recalling the ending of a certain children's book. I won't reveal the title or the author just now, but the ending goes something like this:

"Oh!" said Susan. "Their wings are soft."
"Oh!" said Harriet. "Their hands are kind."

Does anybody recognize this book? Does anybody else go to pieces over it?

It's a good thing I work in a relative privacy. Because, after the book's last two sentences went floating through my head, I sat down on the floor and bawled. I cried so hard that I started to wonder if something is wrong with me. There's no reason for these tears, except maybe as a symptom of other wounds and worries, all in need of kind hands.


At 12:43 AM, Blogger timna said...

I don't know the story. Will you tell me? Unless, of course, it means you will cry again and you don't want to.

At 11:28 AM, Blogger YelloCello said...

I won't cry again. (Methinks that was a combination of pregnancy hormones and the fact of the 2000th U.S. serviceperson's death in Iraq.) The book is Catwings, by Ursula Le Guin.

Now that I'm at home, where I have a copy of the book, I can report that the actual wording of the end of the book is as follows:

"Purr," James said, and drooled a little on Susan's shoe.

"Oh, well!" said Thelma, having cleaned up the last of the cold roast beef. She arose in the air, flew over with great dignity, sat right down in Hank's lap, folded her wings, and said, "Purr, purr, purr..."

"Oh, Hank," Susan whispered, "their wings are furry."

"Oh, James," Harriet whispered, "their hands are kind."

(You kind of have to read the whole story to know why I found that so moving.)

At 1:01 AM, Blogger timna said...


At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's a beautiful excerpt. i'm glad that you shared that. i hope that you get this message because this book means a lot to me, too. :'-(


Post a Comment

<< Home