Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief”

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”

― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

If you haven’t read “The Book Thief” you should. The novel’s narrator is Death. That’s right, the Grim Reaper himself. But his persona is gentle and wise and he is an entity who as a heart…and this heart is often broken when he witnesses pain experienced by the human race.

Our poor narrator is Death

in Germany

during the Holocaust,

so, needless to say, he is a busy reaper.

“Death” is correct in saying people only, “observe the colors of the day at its beginnings and ends”. How often do we comment on the gloriousness of the sunrise, or the passionate vibrancy of the sunset but never do we take the time DURING the day to notice not just the colours that surround us,

but the sounds and smells and tastes that we encounter as well?

We are too busy trying to get from point A to point B, or mentally checking off lists of tasks that we miss, or rather dismiss, anything of substance because they seem insignificant to some success that we hope to achieve in the future.

The beauty of the day is subtle. Just like the beauty of life is subtle. If it had to hit us upside the head with it’s obviousness then it is more garish than delicate.

When we are children basking in the morning light of our life we want to touch and taste everything. We find joy and fascination with everything we encounter whether it be mud or marshmallows.

And then, when we age and get closer to the light of the sunset, we go on the search for beauty and meaning, trying to fill our remaining days with all the loveliness and “newness” we can find,

or we give up looking for it because we figure there is nothing left in this world that we would find enchanting.

So, today go out and look. Really REALLY look and the “waxy yellows” and “cloud-spot blues” that come across your path.

And see what kind of day it will be.

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