13 Feb Edward Abbey

Very pretty, Henry!  Are you speaking for ourself? I watch his lined, gentle face, the face of his middle age (though he had no later) as recorded in photographs, and cannot help but read there the expression, engraved, of a patient, melancholy resignation. All babies look identical; boys and adolescents resemble one another, in their bewildered hopefulness, more than they differ. But eventually the inner nature of the man appears on his outer surface. Character begins to shine through. Year by year a man reveals himself, while those with nothing to show, show it. Differentiation becomes individualism. By the age of forty, if not before, a man is responsible for his face. The same is true of women too, certainly, although women, obeying the biological imperative, strive harder than men to preserve and appearance of youthfulness – the reproductive look – and lose it sooner. Appearance is reality.

Henry replies not to my question but, as befits a ghostly seer, to my thought: “Nothing can rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness.”