When he reentered the cabin he felt as a ghost must, occupying the shape of the past to little effect. Sara had lit a tallow dip and was at the table washing dishes in a basin. The air around the light seemed thick. All the bright objects close to it appeared haloed. Everything in the shadows beyond it was extinguished completely, as if never to reappear. The curve of the girl’s back as she bent over the table seemed to Inman a shape not to be duplicated in all the time stetched out before him. A thing to fix in mind and hold, so that should he become an old man the memory might be useful, not a remedy against time but nevertheless a consolation.

Cold Mountain p. 307