A Bird in the Storm


"Storm's End" by Karen Thompson (oil painting). Image from paintingsilove.com
“Storm’s End” by Karen Thompson (oil painting). Image from paintingsilove.com

 

There is a sense of unease. I can feel it in the wind. Unable to rest, it throws itself at windows and doors. It tosses down the small green mangoes that have not had a chance to ripen on our trees. The frantic carnival parties continue in the night. At a discussion earlier this week, anxious words and especially the word “But…” followed words of encouragement and promise. A pudgy-faced young man over in the East is telling his robotic marching toy people that war is imminent.

And the rain refuses to fall.

One of my most-loved writers is the German-Swiss novelist and poet Hermann Hesse, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. I suppose this is a legacy of my “hippy” years; Hesse was enormously influential during the 1960s and early 1970s among young Europeans. Born into a rigid Christian missionary family, Hesse became a spiritual explorer, partly arising from his parents’ work in India. Skeptical of organized religion, he came to develop a view of a universal spirituality that still resonates today. (In fact, I often find strong echoes of my 1960s explorations in today’s world. Coming full circle, as my brother pointed out recently, I am now meditating again, as I did in my early twenties). Hesse was also a pacifist, and his work was reviled by German nationalists during and after the First World War. He became a Swiss citizen in 1923.

Well, I recently retired my forty-year-old hardcover copy of Siddhartha” – it had become very battered over the years and was literally collapsing. I bought a new copy, but am not as comfortable with it, yet. It needs a few more re-reads, I think.

Meanwhile, a fellow-blogger posted a quote by Hesse that simply reflected my mood, and the discomfort of this little island I live on, Jamaica. Here it is:

“There is no escape…You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shrink from nothing. Don’t try to lie to yourself. You are not a solid citizen. You are a bird in the storm. Let it storm! Let it drive you!”
I am deeply indebted to fellow blogger J. Ruth Kelly for this inspiring quote. The link to her blog post is below. I highly recommend it as a tool for personal growth; Ms. Kelly actually works in this field through her Yellow Dress Productions. I love her blog, which uncovers much wisdom.
Related articles:

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1946/hesse-autobio.html Hermann Hesse autobiographical sketch: nobelprize.org

http://www.hermann-hesse.de/en Hermann Hesse Portal – this is very revealing and well put together

Bird in the Storm… (jruthkelly.com)

Hermann Hesse (pensaleas.wordpress.com)

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse – review (guardian.co.uk)

SopranoAscends SINGS! (sopranoascending.wordpress.com)

Matter As Metaphor, Part Two: Taught by Nature, by That Which Is – The Heights of Learning and Transformation Possible in Wide-Angled Contemplation of the World (apocalypseknow.wordpress.com)

50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom from 50 Great Books of Inner Discovery, Enlightenment & Purpose ~ Tom Butler-Bowdon (evolutionarymystic.wordpress.com)

"Steppenwolf" by Hermann Hesse: “In fear I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other.” Another hugely influential book...
“Steppenwolf” by Hermann Hesse: “In fear I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other.” Another hugely influential book…
Hermann Hesse (left) and his family. (Photo: Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin)
Hermann Hesse (left) and his family. (Photo: Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin)
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) (Photo: goodreads.com)
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) (Photo: goodreads.com)
"Siddharha" by Herman Hesse: one of the most influential books of my life.
“Siddharha” by Herman Hesse: one of the most influential books of my life.   

 


2 thoughts on “A Bird in the Storm

    1. You are most welcome. I enjoy all your wonderful posts! I always gain so much from them, so I wanted to share with others. Hermann Hesse was hugely influential on me, and still is.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.