Can you believe that I’ve actually been snorkeling in the waters of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and didn’t know this statue of Christ of the Abyss was there? This was back when I was but a wee lad, in… 97? Or 2002? The years, they blur together. Man did I miss out. I did get a good scare from a school of barracuda, however, so that’s all right. The reason I’m posting this picture though is not to simply reminisce but also to contrast. Listen up, kids, this is going to get tangential.
Everybody should know about Oscar Wilde, right, the deliriously talented writer who was hung by his own petard in 1895 and sentenced to two years of jail for practicing the ‘love that dare not speak its name’? While in Reading Gaol he wrote an incredibly long and plangent love letter to the source of all his joy and misery, Lord Alfred Douglas, that has since been published and is entitled, ‘De Profundis‘. It’s a painfully beautiful letter, and worth reading in its entirety (not just the abridged version you can easily find online).
ANYWAYS. The point being. The letter’s title comes from Psalm 129, who’s first line is, ‘de profundis clamavi ad te, Domine‘, which translates into ‘Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord.’ You guys can see where I’m going with this. Anyways, here’s a passage from Wilde’s letter:
Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.
For some reason, that passage resonates strongly for me with the image of Christ of the Abyss above. So. There you have it. About as tangential as it gets.