Wednesday, January 1, 2014
A View on Apple Trees
One of the pleasures available in an hospital, whether you are kept in there by your sore body or someone else's assessment of your sore mind (or someone else's sore assessment of your mind, for that matter) is that of looking out of windows.
Trees and birds and clouds and the sky are so unrelated to the hospital, they are like balm for your eyes. One tree outside was precisly an apple tree.
Susan looked again at the book of palaeontology the doctor had left her to convince her of his philosophy of death, of evolution. And he did it the precisely wrong way.
He tried to give evidence, when the evidence was not very obviously on his side.
At least not for Susan who had heard Paxford's claim that the orchard in the Kilns had grown over two thousand years from a single apple seed, dropped accidentally by a bird. The "hundred feet of stems become roots as covered with soil from the apple tree leaves" of which, with all the floods, only ten feet were left, were all too close to the supposed evidence for evolution.
She broke out in a laugh and thought that that must have been Paxford's intention with the hoax.
"God bless that gardener!" she said out loud, and laughed because he didn't laugh when telling his splendid joke.
In looked a guard who asked "are you all right?" in a most worried voice.
One of the extreme displeasures of a hospital, when you are kept there because someone else made a sore assessment of your mind is not being allowed to enjoy a good mood, since it can be taken for a "maniac phase". She did shut up very quickly.
When she was alone again, she was despondent. Any place she had been staying before, laughing at a private joke would not have hurt her. Here it could get her very unwanted attentions.
She thought of another garden, as the "daughter of Eve" she had been called in Narnia. And of how the priests and her late sister Lucy called the Blessed Virgin Mary "the New Eve". And she thought of the Hail Mary she had nearly said when escaping from a would be ravisher. So, she prayed one Hail Mary - as she had learned it on her voayage to Italy, to Narni - and then looked out of the window again.
Humanly speaking she had no hope. If she had been raving out of her mind, she might have had the hope - not enjoyed it, but had it for real, to get out once she was put straight. But if she was already straight, when was she then supposed to get out if she was even so kept in? And yet she did not feel quite hopeless.
Even the Palaeontology book left on her nightstand was not as depressing as it had been when it came with greetings from Dr. Peter Sorner. Actually she felt there was a parallel with the orchard developing ... and still only ten feet left of the hundred feet theoretically involved in the process. In Palaeontology too very few if any places seemed to have thickness of ages stamped into the fossils. Unlike Geology where it is supposed to be automatically there because of slow deposit. She decided to get out into the parlour. In fossils of one place you often found fossils of one or two closely related slices of geological age.