HI 89 / LO 57, wind calm
“It’s not you I worry about,” said Douglas. “It’s the way God runs the world.”
Tom thought about this for a moment. “He’s all right, Doug,” said Tom. “He tries.”
from “Dandelion Wine,” by Ray Bradbury
This conversation, between two preteen brothers, occurs late in Bradbury’s novel, which is set in the summer of 1928 in Green Town, Illinois.
The story is a bit disjointed, but still magical. Think of it as “Calvin & Hobbes” without the stability of Hobbes. (Yes, I did just write that Hobbes is the stability of that comic strip.) So what you have is Calvin—here, Douglas—experiencing the world during a single summer, with a mixture of things that might or might not be real. It is a summer of discoveries. 1) He is alive. 2) He will die. 3) “Was there, then, no strength in growing up? No solace in being an adult?”
Of course not. But that’s a big thing to discover when you’re 12. It’s a big thing to conclude that God running the world may not actually be very comforting.
“He’s all right, Doug,” said Tom. “He tries.”
School started here on Monday. Our summer? It was all right. We tried.
In the story, Douglas’s grandmother tells him, “And you don’t yell when your body makes itself over every seven years or so, old cells dead and new ones added to your fingers and your heart. You don’t mind that, do you?”
I’m 42, so I guess I’m on my sixth remaking. I didn’t notice the new cells at first, but I guess I did start noticing pain in my fingers back around spring break. Then my left heel started acting up in June. Did I mind? Now that I know it’s just part of death and life and all that, I’ll answer with Douglas.