January 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

“Not long ago I attended the funeral of a woman who was born here and who died here well into her old age. She was a rural woman, typical of her generation of rural women, who had worked hard all her life, and was skilled at all the tasks of rural women. She was an ordinary woman; she quarreled with people, she gave unstintingly to others. There was nothing remarkable about her life in any way: she never wrote a book, never had a career, never won a prize, never held a prestigious office, or had any power in the world except as the woman of her family, a power which she underused, if anything. Yet the church was packed and the crowd overflowed into the vestibule and out onto the lawn.

While the minister prayed, I tried to understand why all these people had come to her funeral, why they came to the funerals of other old women just like her, who had never made the smallest mark on the world.

Why else, I thought, but because, whether we say it out loud or not, or to ourselves or not, or to each other or not, we all know, we all understand in our hearts that women are the soul of the world.”

-Sharon Butala, The Perfection of the Morning


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