881 reasons why i love jose saramago

On that afternoon, when the rain stopped, Cipriano Algor walked down the street to the main road, unaware that his daughter was watching him from the door of the pottery, but he did not need to say where he was going, nor did she need to ask. Stubborn creature, Marta thought, he should have gone in the van, it could start raining again at any moment. Marta’s concern was only natural, it was what one would expect from a daughter, because the truth is that, no matter how often people in the past may have made statements to the contrary, the heavens never were to be trusted. This time, though, even if the drizzle does slither down again from the uniform grayness covering and encircling the earth, it won’t be one of those drenching rains, the village cemetery is very close, just at the end of one of those streets leading off the main road, and Cipriano Algor, despite being of a certain age, still has the long, rapid stride that younger people use when they’re in a hurry. But be they old or young, let no one ask him to hurry today. Nor would it have been wise of Marta to suggest that he take the van, because we should always visit cemeteries, especially bucolic, rural, village cemeteries on foot, not in accordance with any categorical imperative or with some ruling from above, but out of respect for mere human decency, after all, so many people have gone on walking pilgrimages to worship the shinbone of some saint that it would be inexplicable if we were to choose any other mode of transport to go to a place where we know beforehand that what awaits us is our own memory and perhaps a tear. Cipriano Algor will spend a few minutes beside his wife’s grave, not in order to pray prayers he long ago forgot, nor to ask her to intercede for him up there in the empyrean, always assuming her virtues carried her to such high places, with the one some say can do anything, he will merely protest that what they did to me is simply unjust, Justa, they mocked my work and the work of our daughter, they say there’s no interest any more in earthenware crockery, that no one wants it, and therefore we too are no longer needed, we are a cracked bowl which there is no point in clamping together, you had better luck while you were alive. There are small puddles along the narrow gravel cemetery paths, the grass grows everywhere, and in less than a hundred years’ time, it will be impossible to know who was buried beneath these mounds of mud, and even if people do still know, it’s unlikely it will be of any real interest to them, the dead, as someone has already said, are like broken plates on which it is no longer worth placing one of those equally outmoded iron clamps that were used to hold together what had become broken or separated, or, as in the case in question, and using different words to explain the simile, the iron clamps of memory and regret. Cipriano Algor approached his wife’s grave, she has been under there for three years now, three years during which she has appeared nowhere, not in the house, not in the pottery, not in bed, not beneath the shade of the mulberry tree, nor at the clay pit beneath the scorching sun, she has not sat down again at the table or at the potter’s wheel, nor has she cleared out the ashes fallen from the grate, nor seen the earthenware pots and plates set out to dry, she does not peel the potatoes, knead the clay, or say, That’s the way things are, Cipriano, life only gives you two days, and given the number of people who only get to live for a day and a half, and others even less, we can’t really complain. Cipriano Algor stayed no longer than three minutes, he was intelligent enough to know that the important thing is the road you walked, the journey you made, if you are aware of prolonging your contemplation of the grave it is because you are watching yourself or, worse still, it is because you hope others are watching you. Compared with the instantaneous speed of thought, which heads off in a straight line even when it seems to us to have lost its way, because what we fail to realize is that, as it races off in one direction, it is in fact advancing in all directions at once, anyway, as we were saying, compared with that, the poor word is constantly having to ask permission from one foot to lift the other foot, and even then it is always stumbling, hesitating and dithering over an adjective or a verb that turns up unannounced by its subject, and that must be why Cipriano did not have time to tell his wife everything that was on his mind, apart from that business about it being unjust, Justa, but it may well be that the murmurings we can hear coming from him now, as he walks toward the gate leading out of the cemetery, are precisely what he meant to say.

~Jose Saramago, The Cave

i think that’s about all i’ll have for today.