Lately I've been thinking about Eugie Foster a lot. In part because I want to steal her brain. I want that brain and those ideas, but I can't have them so I'll settle for reading what she writes instead. (And I'm very very sure that brain stealing is a crime).
In particular, I've been thinking about her story "Daughter of Botu" that is in her collection named Returning My Sister's Face and Other Far Eastern Tails of Whimsy and Malice. I read the story while sitting and waiting for my molasses, oil and conditioner treatment to get a good soak into my hair. (I'm not crazy, it works. My hair is softer now.)
But any way, back to the story. The ending, in particular, haunted me. I think it was because it is so antithetical to human nature (though apparently not to devout bunny nature). We're not good at giving up what we love or letting go of what we desire. In fact, Western thinking pretty much encourages you to run as hard and as fast as you can to get a hold on what you want and then never let go. I mean, isn't that at least part of this thing we call the "American Dream."
And that's not to say that goals or desires are bad (I'm not lecturing here). It's just that the idea of denial of self is so alien to most of us. In my own Christian theology there is the concept of "deny yourself and follow me" that Jesus puts forth. And a lot of Christians find it very fulfilling to follow that path. I've found it fulfilling in a lot of ways, but that doesn't mean that giving up what you feel you want is easy. It's watching a little part of you die--a dream, a goal, a desire, sometimes even a relationship.
So seeing another creature go through that process can be heart rending. And Eugie Foster does it in such a beautiful way.