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Dedication Page

for my brother


Put by the curtains, look within my veil
Turn up my metaphors, and do not fail
There, if thou seekest them, such things to find
As will be helpful to an honest mind.

--John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress


Prologue

– Flax –


Quickly, as if she were recalled by something over there, she turned to her canvas. There it was–her picture. To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

It was a field, just a field, in Belgium. Broad and deep and long, skirting the roadside in the backcountry; nothing unique made it stand out from the other tracks of cultivated land just like it all across Europe.

Like many fields it had been sown in early spring, just after the frost, when the ground was still moist and the sun recurrent enough to allow seed to sprout, germinate, take root—become what it would become.

Like many fields it started out one color and ended up another, and took up wide spaces that could make painters think of painting. Still there was something about this field—the way its crop bent to the breeze, an ocean of green and gold cresting waves rippling out across the tillage. There was something about the field that was just like many fields, except for its difference.

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