“How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know refracted your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost thoughts?” —Fahrenheit 451
Though he was writing about Clarisse, a catlyst of change in his Montag’s life, the words could easily apply to his work. Bradbury showed us who we were, who we were becoming. He did blaze, but not like a torch. Like the candles beside which we eat meals with loved ones. Like the crackling fireplace around which we talk with one another, remembering the past and dreaming about the future.
And I’m at a loss today, grieving the death of Ray Bradbury, wondering along Montag,
When it came his turn, what could he say, what could he offer on a day like this, to make the trip a little easier? To everything there is a sesason. Yes. A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. Yes, all that. But what else. What else? Something, something… “And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Yes, thought Montag, that’s the one I’ll save for noon. For noon…When we reach the city.
I’ve no other words to make the trip a little easier, for any of us. But thank you, Mr. Bradbury, for your many “leaves,” which, even now that you’re gone, will continue to offer the kind of wisdom we need for the healing of the nations. If only we’ll take the time to listen.