What a smart lady. I mean...
Mary Ann Evans just knocks me out.
In this passage from Silas Marner, the opening for this hopeful, arresting aphorism is Eliot's description of Silas's slow re-introduction to society after the weaver's small fortune has been stolen. It takes a hundred pages more and the arrival of a mysterious toddler for Silas to bloom, but the process starts early and isn't readily apparent.
The line reminds me powerfully of the virtue of patience, that our lives are becoming while they are not in full bloom.
It also calls to mind Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man", which, despite (maybe because of) its absurdity and the low, threatening beat, has always sounded hopeful to me, wonderful in the truest sense. Something is happening and you don't know what it is... When it doesn't scare the bejeezus out of me, I think it is among the very best reasons for living.
P.P.S. thanks to Ebony (and the anonymous soul who left this book in her office) and to Colin (who pulled this book off his shelf very soon after Ebony mentioned it without knowing I'd think it was a sign)