“At the Window”

Suppose, we said, that the tumult of the flesh were to cease and all that thoughts can conceive, of earth, of water, and of air, should no longer speak to us; suppose that the heavens and even our own souls were silent, no longer thinking of themselves but passing beyond; suppose that our dreams and the visions of our imagination spoke no more and that every tongue and every sign and all that is transient grew silent—for all these things have the same message to tell, if only we can hear it, and their message is this: We did not make ourselves, but he who abides forever made us. Suppose, we said, that after giving us this message and bidding us listen to him who made them they fell silent and he alone should speak to us, not through them but in his own voice, so that we should hear him speaking, not by any tongue of the flesh or by an angel’s voice, not in the sound of thunder or in some veiled parable but in his own voice, the voice of the one for whose sake we love what he has made; suppose we heard him without these, as we two strained to do … And then my mother said, “I do not know why I am here.”And my brother for her sake wished she might die in her own country and not abroad and she said, “See how he speaks.”And so in the ninth day of her illness, in the fifty-sixth year of her life and the thirty-third of mine, at the mouth of the Tiber………………………………. in Ostia …