“When farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread, till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to mere chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun.“
That is what I want my appearance to be known by. Not the color of my hair or the color of my eyes. But to be known by your smile… How wonderful that would be. To describe Oak, that first line to tell the reader who it is they will come to know, Hardy told us his smile. He made us see who Oak was by the happiness that radiated from him when he smiled. Can I be seen that way? Or maybe it’s the way that Thomas Hardy sees. That’s what Hardy focuses on. Who they are, not what they are. That’s what I would like to see.
“And at home by the fire, whenever you look up, there I shall be, and whenever I look up there will be you.”
I like that that’s what Gabriel told Bathsheba while proposing to her. Because that is what marriage means, isn’t it? Someone to share those happy moments with, a shoulder to lean on when times get tough, someone to sit by the fire with.
“And did you love him, miss?” “Oh, no. But I rather liked him.”
Sometimes people will assume that we are in love with people because we enjoy spending time with them. When in reality we haven’t thought about it at all. But I thought it was interesting that Bathsheba, in this instance, was not quick to say yes just for the sake of marrying. She liked Gabriel but wasn’t ready to make a big life decision on that. Though yes, it did take her a long time to realize that passion was not love, but that true love comes from friendship. Still, I could relate with what she said, that she liked him, but didn’t love him.
“We learn that it is not the rays which bodies absorb, but those which they reject, that give them the colors they are known by.”
I feel as if those words are so profound that I can’t enhance them with any of mine. A person is not made up of the love they are given but the love they show. And it is this that makes a person wonderful or horrible, that which they cannot keep for themselves and instead project into the world. What we give and not what we receive, that is what makes us who we are.
“There are accents in the eye which are not on the tongue.”
Those words reminded me of a song that I like, a song that almost is like poetry whispered to the strums of a guitar. He sings of the thing Hardy wrote:
And I often wonder how men spoke before they could speak, using only their hands and their eyes.
What would I say if I could speak with you in that way?
We do speak with our eyes, though maybe not as much as we should.
We can tell a thousand things in a glance, whereas we might not even be able to say one of those things with all the words in the world. Sometimes a goodbye is best said with a brief stare and a nod. Because as someone once said “the eyes are the windows to the soul”.
Facial expressions are the key to good communication. We always seem to be getting frustrated with one another when talking on the phone. We just can’t understand each other on the phone sometimes. Or we’ll pace the room not really knowing why but we just feel uncomfortable staying in one place. It’s because we need that, face to face. To understand what they really mean.
“The difference between love and respect was markedly shown in her conduct.”
This is something that is so lacking nowadays. To recognize what it is to respect someone and what it means when you do. Bathsheba’s relationships with Gabriel and Troy were so different. Gabriel was her friend, her confidant, her mentor, her advisor whereas Troy was only someone she was fascinated by, infatuated with. And the way she acted was wild, without thought, when it came to Troy. But with Gabriel she was calm and peaceful.
People say love is blind. But real love is the furthest thing from it. Passion blinds you of people’s imperfections. Passion makes rash decisions. Love sees imperfections and chooses to work through them. Love makes sacrifices, but because it’s weighed the consequences and knows it’s worth it.
“Ultimately, he was reduced to a homogeneous sop.”
I couldn’t help but laugh aloud when I read this. I understood perfectly what had become of Gabriel and I laughed at the picture of him working in the midst of the storm shoveling grain on top of grain becoming so drenched that he couldn’t tell if he was any more wet the next minute than he was the minute before.
Once in Ecuador we had been riding in a truck and my brother and some friends were sitting in the back of the pickup. And without warning, as it often does in the Amazon, it began to pour sheets and sheets of torrential rain from huge grey rainclouds. They huddled behind the cab, attempting to shield themselves from the water. But to no avail. As we kept going I was turning back to see how they were and could only pity there soaked state. I thought then that they really couldn’t get any wetter. They were exactly as Gabriel was, homogeneous sops.
“She was of the stuff of which great men’s mothers are made. She was indispensable to high generation, feared at tea-parties, hated in shops, and loved at crises.”
I laugh, and yet I smile. Because that’s my mom. In one word, I’d call it “capable”.
So I like the parson’s opinion on law, the lawyer’s on doctoring, the doctor’s on business, and my business-man’s on morals.
Why do we do that? We never want to share everything with people. We like to divvy our life up. Hoping that someone will have the insight we need for one thing while the other will have it for the other.
I’d never really thought about what Bathsheba said, that when you want a general opinion never go to the person who deals with that subject. But it makes sense. You want an unbiased outsider’s opinion. This way you see things from a different angle. And though yes, sometimes we might need some solid advice from a credible source, but it’s nice to have a peer-review sometimes.
“Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best until further on. This good-fellowship -camaraderie-… Where, however, happy circumstance permits its development, the compounded feeling proves itself be the only love as strong as death- that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam.
I have no words. That’s it. That sums up the whole story.
Let me know…
- What’s your favorite Far From the Madding Crowd quote?