A Lamp of Oil or a Bucket of Gasoline

People generally suppose that they don’t understand one another very well, and that is true; they don’t. But some things they communicate easily and fully. Anger and contempt and hatred leap from one heart to another like fire in dry grass. The revelations of love are never complete or clear, not in this world. Love is slow and accumulating, and no matter how large or high it grows, it falls short. Love comprehends the world, though we don’t comprehend it. But hate comes off in slices, clear and whole—self-explanatory, you might say. You can hate people completely and kill them in an instant. Cecilia knew how to deliver the killing look and the killing refusal to look. She could give the tiniest little snub that would cause your soul to fester with self-doubt and self-justification and anger. And these things she could pass along to you because all of them were festering in her.”—from Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry


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