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Why I like this sentence

"The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.”

That's Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums. 

It is carefully structured to seem structureless, a purposefully channeled stream of consciousness.

The aim of this sentence is to convey the sense of a lot of different thens coming together in a now. I'm passing this woods, I could be passing another wood, one near by grandmother's home. Or one I passed last week in the course of performing some grown-up errand Each wood is particularly itself, yet each looks like it could be the lost form of another, or any of those many others.

But why did I just repeat, in my own flat-footed way, what Kerouac had so marvellously said? Because great prose does that to you. 

I love the "forgotten song drifting across the water...."

This links the physical fact that sound does travel better over water than over land withe the nostalgia that most of us have for childhood days at a favorite beach or lakeside. 

I would say more about this sentence, but there is too much to say and no good stopping point once one tries to say it, so I'll arbitrarily stop here.

Thanks for reading!


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