Evidence of Things Unseen: A Novel by Marianne Wiggins

Evidence of Things Unseen: A Novel by Marianne Wiggins

Author:Marianne Wiggins [Wiggins, Marianne]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Historical, General
ISBN: 9780684869698
Google: ysU3Qu-TxFMC
Amazon: 0743258096
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2003-10-14T23:00:00+00:00

For Love

. . . Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop.

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, “The Symphony”

burning bridges

Everything that shines in water is not gold.

Despite what all the boys in Washington will try to tellya.

They’ll come down two by two, at first—two by two in their big cars. They’ll come down with their charts and maps, and they’ll take their jackets off and dab the sweat beneath their hatbands with starched handkerchiefs and mention mighty hot down here like they were scouting out some jungle in the New World for the plundering eternal glory of the Old. They come the way those ancient Europeans came, two or three small scouting parties at a time. Men on a mission, armed with shiny glass and enterprise and the belief in wealth of nations.

What good is a river that’s not flowing gold, they make us ask. Like land—which they will tell us is plain worthless if it’s not producing something we can use—a river going unproductively about its business across plains through valleys from the mountains to the sea is wasted if not brought to heel within the cosmic and commercial wheel of fortune. A river’s no mere artery of earth’s, no aorta of the heartland, no petty sphygmic system spouting fishies for the hell of it: a river is a trust: exploitable: an invitation to a chance to channel, levee, riprap, tax and dam for profit. A river is a goldfield waiting to be panned. A purse. A cursive prayer to fortune. A course in economics.

You watch it one day when it’s placid and you tell yourself, I know this angel. She’s God’s handiwork. She is here to help me. Then you go to sleep and wake up in her torrent, to her rage. You think you know the river, but the river is impossible to know. You think the river is your friend but you discover to your misery that the river has a code of ethics all its own. Ultimately, you resign yourself to trusting it—and even loving it—but it will break your heart. Like other rogues who’ve left you stranded, a bystander, in their self-constructing wakes.

Like Flash, Fos thought.

You take a man and set him in a landscape and maybe it’s his human nature to impose a human narrative on it, to imagine human motive in the turning of a leaf, the falling of a star. He took to starting every day with a solemn trek down to the river as a form of meditation. Maybe even as a form of prayer. He missed his friend, he missed his former life so much those first few months the loss was like a wound to time, a discontinuity in the sequence of his sense of self And the river, its suffusion, acted like a balm. There were no gaps in it. No disappearances. No losses. As an antithesis to life’s dissolutions, it was a seamless promise. It could resurface hope.


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