One single scene which I love? That’s a bit difficult for someone who reads a lot of books, isn’t it? This meme has, in many instances, been rather limiting in its scope; maybe some day I’ll make my own meme which is meant for more voracious readers. But I digress. I’ll pick a scene.
In the beginning of Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids, she describes a day in the park with her mother, when she spots a magnificent bird along the lagoon:
The narrows of the river emptied into a wide lagoon and I saw upon its surface a singular miracle. A long curving neck rose from a dress of white plumage.
‘Swan’, my mother said, sensing my excitement. It pattered the bright water, flapping its great wings, and lifted into the sky.
The word alone hardly attested to its magnificence nor conveyed the emotion it produced. The sight of it generated an urge I had no words for, a desire to speak of the swan, to say something of its whiteness, the explosive nature of its movement, and the slow beating of its wings.
The swan became one with the sky. I struggled to find words to describe my own sense of it. ‘Swan’, I repeated, not entirely satisfied, and I felt a twinge, a curious yearning, imperceptible to passersby, my mother, the trees, or the clouds.
With the power of language, the sight of a swan in a city park transformed into a critical moment in Patti’s formation as an artist, a poet, and a future musician, by sparking in her the desire to describe the world around her and capture its beauty and its essence in a way the simple name never could.
Who could ever deny the power and beauty of such a simple moment?