I’ve been talking about how I’ve been reading Into the Wilderness. It’s over 700 pages long so it’s taking me a while to get through and I’ve been highlighting and commenting in it. There is one passage that kind of struck me and has kind of almost bugged me since I read it.
I want to watch you with Hannah, see what you’ve got to teach her. To take you into the wilderness in the spring and show you where you where the flag lilies grow. When it’s hot, to sleep with you under the waterfall. To kiss you whenever I please. To take you to bed, and have you there with me whenever I reach out for you…To get you with child, and watch it change the shape of you as it grows. (pg. 184)
So the back story of this passage is: This is said by Nathaniel, Hawkeye’s son, father of Hannah, also a widow and he’s got the hots for Elizabeth. At this passage Nathaniel and Elizabeth are having a tender moment, they’re expressing their feelings for each other. He says this and it strikes me that this passage and his feelings are completely selfish. This man has a child, he has people he has to provide for and he’s thinking “Boy do I ever want to have sex with you and knock you up”. Why this passage struck out to me as being selfish when there’s other passages that describe the personalities of both characters just as well and has stuck with me for a long time? I don’t know. But I did come to a conclusion.
Love is this weird mix of selfishness and unselfishness.
Now before I develop that thought. Let’s talk about me for a little bit. Talk about selfish right? I haven’t ever been much of a dater. So the question I have to present myself when thinking about my conclusion is: Have I ever been in love? After thinking about this, no, but I have been in lust (which is, I think, more selfish than love) and I have cared deeply for someone. But I don’t think I’ve ever been in true love. And since I’ve never been in true love, I still have a lot to learn about it. But I have theories which is a not so close second.
Now back to my conclusion. The moment I thought about it, I realized that it made sense. There’s a romantic view of love that it’s always unselfish. But from what I can gather, from friends, family, etc. You end up thinking about yourself some of the time when you’re in love. How much better you are with them, how you want to be with them, how you want to knock that person up in Nathaniel’s case. All these statements are “us” statements but you end up thinking about yourself as well. Hence the selfishness of love.
Another thing about this book is that they just had premarital sex and compared to Beyond the Highland Mists it was, let’s say, gentle. No, let’s go tactful. After the deed was over, they’re lying there and Nathaniel asks Elizabeth what she was thinking and she doesn’t say it but she’s thinking “your baby? in that stomach part of me?”. Part of me goes: dang that’s cute, another part of me goes: at 29 you would think that she would know that 2 seconds after sex you don’t know if you’re pregnant and then a third part goes: that’s kind of annoying. I don’t mean to say that these two are overly in love, like I want to puke from all the sugar. It’s just that was almost cliché.
While I’m talking about random things in this book, Nathaniel keeps saying ain’t. I know it would have been in his daily vocabulary but it drives me insane. Ain’t isn’t proper. Even my spell check is freaking out about it.
So lesson of the post. Love can be a little selfish,(which is a little bit of an opinion) a tender moment after sex that’s a little cheesy can be a little annoying and ain’t isn’t proper.