Cathedrals

Over at the Paris Review blog, Casey N. Cep writes about cathedrals in Europe, and Ray Carver, and other things – and it’s lovely.

They continue, when moments later Robert says, “Close your eyes now.” Now both blind, they keep moving across the paper, adding features of the cathedral silently. The catharsis of the encounter, rendered as only Raymond Carver could, is when Robert asks the narrator: “Take a look. What do you think?”

“My eyes were still closed,” the narrator confesses to us, but not Robert. “I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.” To Robert, the narrator says only: “It’s really something.”

Carver does not deprive us of a familiar moral: a seeing man can surrender his vision; a blind man can sometimes see with a truer, deeper sight. But what to say of so perfect a fable as this? Perhaps we could say that wordless, weightless epiphanies come when least expected or that empathy cannot come from anticipation, only adjacency.

Print out the whole essay and read it over a cup of coffee tomorrow morning.


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