24 March 2011

The Morning is Already Ancient

"He snaps on the electricity just before daybreak. For twenty five years he has not lived in this country, though up to the age of eleven he slept in rooms like this - with no curtains, just delicate bars across the windows so no one could break in. And the floors of red cement polished smooth, cool against bare feet.

Dawn through a garden. Clarity to leaves, fruit, the dark yellow of the King Coconut. This delicate light is allowed only a brief moment of the day. In ten minutes the garden will lie in a blaze of heat, frantic with noise and butterflies.

Half a page - and the morning is already ancient."

Michael Ondaatje, Running in the Family


  1. Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dear Anon: Isn't it lovely? It's evocative and cinematic and so accurate on the worn feeling of a humid tropical morning. I guess he also means the weight of history, and the fragile state of our mortality.

  3. Very poignant. It makes you want to live life to the fullest. At a different level, it speaks of life being very transient. Thanks DG.


  4. Dear Rossie: Glad you enjoyed this piece - it does speak of the transience of everything "the delicate light is allowed..." especially relevant to our brief moment in time.
    I think with the tragedy of Japan in mind this is particularly relevant now.