Day 22: The gratitude tense
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Hey, how are you? Welcome to Day 22.
Gretchen K. shared a footnote from the first few pages of A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
Zuibun kagaku ikasarete itadaite orimasu ne.
“I have been alive for a very long time, haven’t I?”
Totally impossible to translate, but the nuance is something like: I have been caused to live by the deep conditions of the universe to which I a humbly and deeply grateful. P. Arai calls it the “gratitude tense,” and says the beauty of this grammatical construction is that “there is no finger pointing to a source.” She also says, “It is impossible to feel angry when using this tense.”
The gratitude tense. (!)
Cody M. W. shared a speech C.S. Lewis gave to Oxford students in 1939. “It's a really lovely, cold-hard-light-but-still-light in dark times, kind of speech, trying to encourage them that it was still worth learning and finding beauty amidst calamity and fear.”
One passage of it that stood out to me:
Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure the search would never have begun. We are mistaken when we compare war with “normal life.” Life has never been normal.
Rachel E. shared a coconut lentil curry recipe that I am keen to make while it’s raining in New York all weekend.
And finally, Robert V., a physician, sent an update on life where he is with the subject line “White Russian” that included:
Worked a few hours today. Did some work around the farm and helped a neighbor set up streaming on their TV. Called my kids, who are doing well.
Took a nap and then treated myself with a White Russian this evening (didn’t have cream so used ice cream which was great :-)
May you all put ice cream in your White Russians this evening, friends (literal or figurative).
The next time we meet, it’ll be Day 19.
Stay safe in, and out, there. ☀️
If you have a story or thought to share, hit reply or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. 🌸