Sunday, January 07, 2007

Zora Neale Hurston

On this date in 1891, novelist, folklorist and short story writer Zora Neale Hurston was born in Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black community to be incorporated in the United States. Her mother was a country schoolteacher and her father a Baptist preacher, who became 3-term mayor of Eatonville.

"My head was full of misty fumes of doubt," she would later write. "Neither could I understand the passionate declarations of love for a being that nobody could see. Your family, your puppy and the new bull-calf, yes. But a spirit away off who found fault with everybody all the time, that was more than I could fathom."

Full article at FFRF

Here is a beautiful excerpt from Hurston's Dust Tracks on a Road (1942), anthologized in African-American Humanism: An Anthology edited by Norm R. Allen Jr. (1991)

. . . 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.”

8 comments:

Stardust said...

"The springing of the yellow line of morning out of the misty deep of dawn, is glory enough for me."

. . . and me too.

Sportin' Life said...

Stardust, this is great--I love ZNH!

Stardust said...

sportin' life, Hurston is one of my very favorite authors. Her writing is like word paintings for the mind.

Anonymous said...

That was an amazing excerpt.

Alli said...

Okay, I had to blog this. Thanks for pointing me toward an author I'll enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Stardust, you've done it again!
You're always digging up these treasures for us to share.

Your pseudonym is apt. Cheers!

Stardust said...

thanks daniel. And thanks to you and everyone for taking the time to read my blog.

Anonymous said...

"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."
Wow, I am so...deeply moved by Zora's words.
Thank you for this. Effin' beautiful.
I've started my 'Profiles in Atheism', in case you're interested.
Would that I could wax so eloquent.