Lightly child, lightly.

‘What did you mean by saying that you were psychic?’

‘What did you think I meant?’

‘Spiritualism?’ ‘Infantilism.’ ‘That’s what I think.’

‘Of course.’

I could just make out his face in the light from the doorway. He could see more of mine, because I had swung round during that last exchange. ‘You haven’t really answered my question.’

‘Your first reaction is the characteristic one of your contrasuggestible century: to disbelieve, to disprove. I see this very clearly underneath your politeness. You are like a porcupine. When that animal has its spines erect, it cannot eat. If you do not eat, you will starve. And your prickles will die with the rest of your body.’

~ John Fowles, The Magus


  • Photo: A porcupine curls up in a garden outside of Moscow on Wednesday. (Yuri Kadobnov, Agence France, September 21, 2017)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Series Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.
  • Today, this post was inspired by LouAnn: What About Us?


  1. A gem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm…a reminder for who?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Our prickles will die with the rest of us. I like that, especially in these times and in all times.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chuckling as I read Mimi’s comment. I love this passage..for some reason the writing fills me with joy…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. put you prickles to use, like picking berries to feed the world. keep your soft parts alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whoa…this gave me chills as co-listen to morning news. Thanks, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Those prickles keep others away too. A lonely death for sure.
    Great writing❣️!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It took me a bit to move from picture to prose. Never have seen a porcupine so close and so withdrawn! So many are encased in prickles, I wonder if they will ever recognize their hunger… and that food is so near.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A prickly situation…/// been a while since I’ve seen a porcupine…the porcupine was in a bare tree along the Little Missouri River, just south of Medora, ND traveling the rocky, dirt road on my way to the cattle ranch…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your description is evocative. I can see it.


      • I think it was 22 miles on West River road to the ranch, the sky was blue, the Cottonwoods were green, while some of the landscape sparse and void like an overcast sky, the river flowing fast, with whitecaps splashing over the rocks, tumbling into the steel gray-blue flow, off int the distance a grassy butte, lush in green, the brick red Scoria rock occasionally exposed among the rugged landscape, home to rattlesnakes…and you can image how it was to see a porcupine in a bare tree against such a backdrop…such a gift…

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I was about 16 when I saw the movie. Made a huge impression on me. Always wanted to read the book, but never got around to me.
    Over about 40 years, I never saw the movie again.
    I looked on Itunes a few years ago and they had it.
    I watched it again, and the parts that made an impression were still there, but the movie moved so slowly. Maybe at last I’ll pick up the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Flowes wrote several books, one of them ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ which also went to the big screen…starring your favorite, Meryl Streep. ///

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Looking For The Light Blog and commented:
    Thank you David! You’re the best. God Bless You!!!!! M

    Liked by 1 person

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