Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

" 'Listen,' said Granger, taking his arm, and walking with him, holding aside the bushes to let him pass.  "When I was a boy my grandfather died, and he was a sculptor.  He was also a very kind man who had a lot of love to give the world, and he helped clean up the slum in our town; and he made toys for us and he did a million things in his lifetime; he was always busy with his hands.  And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn't crying for him at all, but for all the things he did.  I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood of help us raise doves and pigeons in the back yard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did.  He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did.  He was individual.  He was an important man.  I've never got to over his death.  Often I think, what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died.  How many jokes are missing form the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands.  He shaped the world.  He did things to the world.  The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.' "

. . . .

"Granger stood looking back with Montage. 'Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said.  A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made.  Or a garden planted.  Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.  It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.  The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said.  The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."

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