In reading for this week’s class, I was interested in the form DeNae Handy uses in her essay, “An Epistle to the Roamin’(s).” In it, she performs her own imitations of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, conforming an anecdote about her children into New Testament standards of diction, tone, and verse division. Handy’s essay is only loosely related to the Book of Romans, but I wanted to adhere more strictly to a particular scripture in writing mine. Thus, my imitation only imitates Handy in that it imitates something else: in this case, Alma 29. My essay, unlike Handy's, is not a narrative, nor does it include, I hope, any amount of shtick.
O that I were a falcon, and could have the wish of my eye, that I might go forth above all the cities of the earth, and view the heights of spatial geography: the rivers, the mountains, the villages, the markets, the lights, the solace.
Yea, I would travel every state—the Pacific Northwest, the California sprawl, the American Southwest, Texas, the Deep South, the Mid-Atlantic, the Northeast, the Midwest, the Great Plains—and spend my sight on the tops of Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin, Charleston, Washington, Boston, Chicago. I would survey their libraries, walk their sidewalks, roost on their bridges, climb their skyscrapers, that there might be no more horizon to my vision.
I would watch over their dominions by night, at every hour of the day, in every state of weather, in every shade of light, that I might collect photographs for my own delight, and that I might know every angle and every degree of every image.
I would perch next to every man, woman, and child, and listen to them speak, as they tell the story of their city. I would land myself in a thousand places at the same time, to learn the gamut of humanity in an instant, that I might live more completely, more immediately, more deliberately.
But behold, I am a man.
I do sin in my wish, for I ought to be content with the space which the Lord hath allotted unto me.
I ought not to love paths I do not know, for I know that God showeth unto men the paths which they need. Yea, and I know that withersoever I go, God will be with me.
I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it.