Friday, August 26, 2005

A Very Country Dance

Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name. She thought at first it was her father's voice, but that did not seem quite right. Then she thought it was Peter's voice, but that did not seem to fit either. She did not want to get up; not because she was still tired - on the contrary she was wonderfully rested and all the aches had gone from her bones - but because she felt so extremely happy and comfortable. She was looking straight up at the Narnian moon, which is larger than ours, and at the starry sky, for the place where they had bivouacked was comparatively open.

"Lucy," came the call again, neither her father's voice nor Peter's. She sat up, trembling with excitement but not with fear. The moon was so bright that the whole forest landscape around her was almost as clear as day, though it looked wilder. Behind her was the fir wood; away to her right the jagged cliff-tops on the far side of the gorge; straight ahead, open grass to where a glade of trees began about a bow-shot away. Lucy looked very hard at the trees of that glade.

"Why, I do believe they're moving," she said to herself. "They're walking about." She got up, her heart beating wildly, and walked towards them. There was certainly a noise in the glade, a noise such as trees make in a high wind, though there was no wind tonight. Yet it was not exactly an ordinary tree noise either. Lucy felt there was a tune in it, but she could not catch the tune any more than she had been able to catch the words when the trees had so nearly talked to her the night before. But there was, at least, a lilt; she felt her own feet wanting to dance as she got nearer. And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ("And I suppose," thought Lucy, "when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.') She was almost among them now.

The first tree she looked at seemed at first glance to be not a tree at all but a huge man with a shaggy beard and great bushes of hair. She was not frightened: she had seen such things before. But when she looked again he was only a tree, though he was still moving. You couldn't see whether he had feet or roots, of course, because when trees move they don't walk on the surface of the earth; they wade in it as we do in water. The same thing happened with every tree she looked at. At one moment they seemed to be the friendly, lovely giant and giantess forms which the tree-people put on when some good magic has called them into full life: next moment they all looked like trees again. But when they looked like trees, it was like strangely human trees, and when they looked like people, it was like strangely branchy and leafy people - and all the time that queer lilting, rustling, cool, merry noise.

"They are almost awake, not quite," said Lucy. She knew she herself was wide awake, wider than anyone usually is.
~C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian (1951)

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On this day:

1939 C.S. Lewis, Hugo Dyson, and R.E. Havard left for a trip up the Thames on Warren Lewis's cabin cruiser, the Bosphorus.
(from Around the Year With C.S. Lewis and His Friends)

2 Comment(s):

At Fri Aug 26, 03:24:00 PM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I think passages like this, in Prince Caspian especially, were my first encounter with Christian mysticism. Lewis takes us out of the establishment dominated, old English prayer book kind of Christianity and into something that is most easily described as magical.

It had not occurred to me before I read Prince Caspian that God was, in a sense, magical.

 
At Fri Aug 26, 03:55:00 PM EST, Blogger BFU Rector said...

Another view,

I think it was Ray Bradbury that said something to the effect, "Any technology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic."

God is so far beyond our capability of understanding, magic is as good a word as any. God understands us, technology, theology, miracles, and magic.

To the "socks in the drawer," magic and miracle are both beyond understanding.

Allan

 

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