“…time did not occur to God.” A Still Moment Reflexion

Great White Heron

As I have interpreted, A Still Moment, by Eudora Welty I have picked out many little examples of symbolism that I do not think the author has intended. Funny how things work between an author and their reader! This particular short story has a good amount to tell us about who we are as humans due to the fact that it indeed does have much symbolism. Symbolism is something we can relate to and understand easier than simply taking what was written and comprehending that. The story starts and tells us of a very religious man named Lorenzo. He soon encounters his opposite, James Murrell, an outlaw, who believes in some sense he is, in fact, the Devil. The trifecta of characters is completed when artist and curious student Audubon comes into our picture in Old Natchez Trace. From these three personalities we are able to see the good, bad, and evil, per say. This shows us a lot about human nature, in the sense of whom we will meet along this journey of life. It also shows us how humans are inclined to believe and practice specific ways. Not everyone has to, necessarily, believe the same thing and when we get difference of beliefs we get opinions. From this point on we start to understand what we can learn about ourselves. Audubon, wanting to study, sketch and paint a certain white heron, kills this beautiful creature. While this is happening, Lorenzo, who has had some instantaneous love connection with the bird, sees what Audubon has done and becomes sad, almost depressed. This feeling of depression comes from Lorenzo’s vision of the female bird as the love of God, something dear to his heart. Murrell, the “bad” in this story, who had planned to kill Lorenzo until Audubon unexpectedly arrived, also watched Audubon kill the innocent bird. Murrell had the intentions of killing these people but seeing the death of this bird caused him to think about this new feeling of innocence. This shows us how even the “bad” or people who may not have our same views still are capable of showing the same emotions as we are, like innocence with Murrell and compassion with Lorenzo. Maybe the biggest example of the knowledge about humans we get from short stories comes from the last two pages of this story; this is also the part of the story that captured my FULL attention and I connected on a different level with. As Lorenzo rides away he thinks to himself, “He could understand God’s giving Separateness first and then giving Love to follow and heal in its wonder; but God had reversed this, and given Love first and then Separateness, as though it did not matter to Him which came first. Perhaps it was that God never counted the moments of Time… Time did not occur to God.” This to me is the most crucial aspect of the story, in terms of the relationship of short stories and us as humans. We learn here that Lorenzo tried to reassure himself that God was there and that God had never thought of time before. This means that he tried to defend inhumanity and lack of compassion in the world to save God from being unaware of what had happened (or in other words ignorance). What does this mean in the connection between stories and us? In a lot of ways, we shelter our friends, or family, or anyone from the reality of a situation. It can be harmful and while Lorenzo is simply looking out for God, this is still something humans do daily. This tells us human nature is always faced with adversity and temptation and we have to overcome it everyday.


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