top of page
  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #17

(Thirteen-year-old Matey Gilbert has just heard Beethoven's Fifth at a symphony orchestra concert for the first time, after learning it on the piano.)

"Matey was struggling fitfully with a question that fluttered like a cobweb, to and fro in her mind. How could something in her everyday life turn, as the music had, into something from another world -- and yet be just what she had known it all along? How could it change to something else no more like what she had known than dry sticks are like fire -- and yet be nothing new?

"It was a question much too hard for her scattering wits even to keep in mind. Whenever she tried with her unskilled child's fingers to take hold of it firmly, away it blew, off into nothingness, and there was nothing in her thoughts by what was before her eyes. The walk home led them along the quai where pet animals are sold. They passed sad little monkeys squatting on straw in show windows; bright clouds of goldfish in great glass tanks; restless imprisoned love-birds in pairs, fluttering on their perches. Matey's eyes looked at them intently, but from time to time there fluttered in the cage of her brain the question that was too hard for her even to think about for more than an instant.

"It had been alone at first, but presently it encountered another question of much longer standing, another question which had always puzzled her, which she had never felt like asking aloud -- as church language described Heaven, why would anybody want to go there?

"United for an instant the two questions flickered across her mind. At the glimpse of the two together she cried out, 'Oh, maybe that's the way Heaven is -- just the same but all different!'"

-Dorothy Canfield, The Deepening Stream (1930), pp. 51-52

39 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page