Arcadia

I’m trying to read a book a day and generally failing, though reading more than I otherwise would.

Today’s selection (and yesterday’s and the day before’s) was Lauren Groff’s Arcadia.

It’s a sparkling tale that follows a bit of a boy as he grows up with his parents in a hippie commune in the woods, raises his daughter by himself in the City, and returns to the shell of the commune where he and his daughter prepare his mother for death.

Few of us devote as much of ourselves and our offspring to social experiments as the residents of Arcadia do, though I see in them much of what I saw in the parents of my peers at the various Christian schools I grew up attending: a sincere desire to live-out values, a fear/hate of the  world, and a sacrificial impulse.

The truth both these stories bear is that relationships matter more than institutions.  When institutions and the values they embody supplant real people and real lives, expect destructive chaos and shattered relationships.

Arcadia is a transient place of which we can catch glimpses, from which we can carry traditions, but to which we can never return.

 

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