Montaigne thinks that parasols burden the arm more than they relieve his head. I like this mind of his.
In the year 1571, Montaigne retired to his château and hid himself away within the walls of his library struck with grief from the deaths of his father, brother, close friend, and his firstborn child. Bur over the course of his writing, his reflection of death makes a turn. He develops a new perspective. He embraces a new philosophy. He becomes an advocate of life.
Last night as we were laying in the darkness trying to fall asleep, my youngest niece, Eunice, was especially chatty. She’s four months shy of becoming three years old and as you can imagine she loves making sentences. “When it rains, take an umbrella.” Eunice said in her angelic baby voice. I thought that was a masterful sentence. “The word of wisdom!” I said, laughing so hard. Me and my sister reflected on the truth of that statement of this little girl.
If you ask me, though, I don’t take umbrella when it rains. Parasols burden my arm more than they relieve my head. I am a Minimalist, and I enjoy walking in the rain. A year spent in Seattle had a lot of impact on me, I am sure, and this is one. It rains there all the time, you just don’t even bother to take your umbrella. But the real reason I don’t like using umbrella is because taking an umbrella when it rains, is just way too common. I mean, even a two and a half year old can come up with that sentence. So why would I take an umbrella when it rains?
But here’s my sentence: When it rains, take a book of Montaigne. Or about Montaigne. They are equally great.
Montaigne is”All the time reminding us that if you value a friend, you should meet with them; if you are fond of your children, eat with them; if there is someone you love, stand close to them, be near to them.
And if you want to get back in touch with life – as Flaubert wrote to a depressed correspondent- ‘read Montaigne…. He will calm you…. You will love him… you will see.’ (Montaigne and Being in Touch with Life, Saul Frampton)
So on this rainy day, after checking on my ex and our dog that we once loved together and making sure that they are safe on Long Island after the hurricane swept through them, I am curled up in my bed with a book about Montaigne.
I think I see things very clearly despite all this rain.
I think I love him.
But I was already calm before this book. So I can’t give him credit for that part. Sorry Montaigne. Jesus beat you to it!