Yesterday’s google doodle

by Andrea Elizabeth

celebrated Zora Neale Hurston on her 123rd birthday. According to the linked wikipedia article, she was a writer who was part of the Harlem renaissance in the ’30’s. The “public obscurity” section characterizes her as a folklorist and dialectical anthropologist who kind of defied more popular political classifications. The listed short quotes speak of her poetic talent mainly, as well as a sort of anger that is very articulate.

She sort of reminds me sort of Derrida, a Jew who was also very aware of racial exclusion if not distinctions. They are both non-Christian, but seek to transcend exclusion from the universe. This is from Zora’s autobiography:

“Prayer seems to me a cry of weakness, and an attempt to avoid, by trickery, the rules of the game as laid down. I do not choose to admit weakness. I accept the challenge of responsibility. Life, as it is, does not frighten me, since I have made my peace with the universe as I find it, and bow to its laws. The ever-sleepless sea in its bed, crying out “how long?” to Time; million-formed and never motionless flame; the contemplation of these two aspects alone, affords me sufficient food for ten spans of my expected lifetime. It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. I feel no need for such. However, I would not, by word or deed, attempt to deprive another of the consolation it affords. It is simply not for me. Somebody else may have my rapturous glance at the archangels. The springing of the yellow line of morning out of the misty deep of dawn, is glory enough for me. I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms. When the consciousness we know as life ceases, I know that I shall still be part and parcel of the world. I was a part before the sun rolled into shape and burst forth in the glory of change. I was, when the earth was hurled out from its fiery rim. I shall return with the earth to Father Sun, and still exist in substance when the sun has lost its fire, and disintegrated into infinity to perhaps become a part of the whirling rubble of space. Why fear? The stuff of my being is matter, ever changing, ever moving, but never lost; so what need of denominations and creeds to deny myself the comfort of all my fellow men? The wide belt of the universe has no need for finger-rings. I am one with the infinite and need no other assurance.”

I don’t know the consequence of such defiance or equating onesself to God, but I can connect some of what she grandly says to the incarnational cosmic mystery of the universe that I do believe in. Maybe her pride had something to do with her fall later in life.

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