68 Chapters
Medium 9780253000958

Silence

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Finding a traditional Quaker meeting in Indianapolis would not be easy. No steeple would loom above the meetinghouse, no bell tower, no neon cross. No billboard out front would name the preacher or proclaim the sermon topic or tell sinners how to save their souls. No crowd of nattily dressed churchgoers would stream toward the entrance from a vast parking lot filled with late-model cars. No bleat and moan of organ music would roll from the sanctuary doors.

I knew all of that from having worshipped with Quakers off and on for thirty years, beginning when I was a graduate student in England. They are a people who call so little attention to themselves or their gathering places as to be nearly invisible. Yet when I happened to be in Indianapolis one Sunday this past January, I still set out in search of the meetinghouse without street address or map. My search was not made any easier by the snow lilting down on the city that morning. I recalled hearing that the North Meadow Circle of Friends gathers in a house near the intersection of Meridian and Sixteenth Streets, a spot I found easily enough. Although I could not miss the imposing Catholic Center nearby on Meridian nor the Joy of All Who Sorrow Eastern Orthodox Church just a block away on Sixteenth, the only landmark at the intersection itself was the International House of Pancakes. Figuring somebody in there might be able to direct me to the Quakers, I went inside, where I was greeted by the smell of sausage and the frazzled gaze of the hostess. No, she’d never heard of any Quakers.

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Medium 9780253353139

Stillness

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

I have concluded that the whole misfortune
of men comes from a single thing, and that is their
inability to remain at rest in a room.

—BLAISE PASCAL

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Chapter Twenty

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Phoenix knew better than to hope Teeg would change her mind. Might as well hope Salt Creek Falls would change its direction and tumble uphill. No sooner get my feet under me here, he thought, than she’s itching to go somewhere else. Portland, ye gods. What could be left of the place, twenty years after its dismantling? Moss-covered rubble and tons of plastic. Maybe it was all cinders, like Zuni’s village, like the hundreds of blackened townsites he had viewed in satellite photos.

“I have a concern to make a trip,” Teeg announced in the stillness following that night’s ingathering. “I am moved to seek my mother, to find out how she died. Or if she died.”

Everyone let that soak in for a while. The ingathering, Zuni’s first, had been the clearest since the landing, so there was a good deal to absorb. Phoenix sat on his mat in a clairvoyant stupor. Each of Teeg’s words, as she explained her mission, drifted before him like a tiny glass animal.

Surely they would say no, you can’t go, it’s a crack-brained scheme. But no sooner had Teeg finished speaking than everyone was agreeing to her plan. “It would be good for you to wait until the crops are established,” Marie was saying. “And the ribs will take another four weeks to mend,” Hinta cautioned. “And of course you won’t go alone,” said Jurgen.

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Medium 9780253000958

Reasons of the Body

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

My son has never met a sport he did not like. I have met a few that left an ugly tingle—boxing and rodeo and pistol shooting, among others—but, then, I have been meeting them for forty-four years, Jesse only for twelve. Our ages are relevant to the discussion, because, on the hill of the sporting life, Jesse is midway up the slope and climbing rapidly, while I am over the crest and digging in my heels as I slip down.

“You still get around pretty well for an old guy,” he told me last night after we had played catch in the park.

The catch we play has changed subtly in recent months, a change that dramatizes a shift in the force field binding father and son. Early on, when I was a decade younger and Jesse a toddler, I was the agile one, leaping to snare his wild throws. The ball we tossed in those days was rubbery and light, a bubble of air as big around as a soup bowl, easy for small hands to grab. By the time he started school, we were using a tennis ball, then we graduated to a softball, then to gloves and a baseball. His repertoire of catches and throws increased along with his vocabulary.

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Chapter Fourteen

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Terra’s occasional rampages put the newscasters in a quandary. Reports of earthquakes and volcanoes and pestilence in the wilds made life within the Enclosure seem all the more desirable. But if the wilds actually broke through the skin of the human system? And if Terra, on one of these violent sprees, actually killed a few people, swallowed an Arctic research team down a sudden throat of ice, or drowned a repair crew in the ocean outside Oregon City? That sort of news would be disquieting. The trick was to remind people of Terra’s brutality without making them brood too much about the Enclosure’s fragility.

So the first half meter of newsfax unscrolling on Zuni’s desk brought her word of the typhoon, without mentioning damage or casualties, FREAK STORM LASHES OREGON CITY, the headline proclaimed, DOME UNHARMED. At least my architecture is sound, she reflected wryly. How had the travel-tubes fared? No mention of that in the lead story. Curious, she skimmed over the week’s fashion news, skimmed rhetoric tournament results and summaries of World Council debates, skimmed the daily geometries and mating announcements, until she found, eight meters from the beginning of the scroll, a brief notice of damage to the Oregon-Alaska seatube. Typhoon generates high waves, the article stated. Seatube cracks—vacuum partially destroyed—commuter traffic disrupted—protective systems activated—wildergoers quickly repair damage.

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