Not there


Just a quick note -- on almost-mysteries -- I just finished 'The Forest Path' by Adalbert Stifter -- and had read 'Limestone' not too long ago. They almost escaped notice -- the almost-mysteries -- they're easy to miss because of the clear, simple images, so well-constructed and so innocuous. But in 'Limestone' there was first the question of why the pastor would stand hip-deep in the flooded field while the children crossed to school. And then wondering off-hand who was walking around on the second floor of his house.

In 'The Forest Path' there was only one almost-mystery I found. Probably because the story was so familiar to me in so many components -- the foreign, dangerous forest, the non-adventurous character -- the rock wall which was so clear and easy to follow becomes suddenly lost -- immediately my mind wondered what sort of strange twisting had happened -- what supernatural forces realigned the paths so that the man would have to continue on through the forest.

Of course there are no forces of any sort -- only unpracticed eyes overlooking a bend in the path. But I still felt a resonance -- a vague touch of the mystery I found in Gothic literature -- Zofloya, The Mysteries of Udolpho, even my beloved Villette. Only here the mystery was never pointed at -- it was just slowly unravelled -- as in 'Limestone.' No mysteries, it's all simple and tidy -- but there could have been -- maybe there was -- but no, it was all clear, all simple.