I first read Rilke’s letters when I was 16 or 17. Reread them again in my mid 20’s. So this was a revisit, of sorts. I was interested to read the letters in context, with return letters from the person they were written to. This made for an interesting read. Kappus was 19 when he first contacted Rilke. Rilke himself was only in his mid to late 20’s, but the depth of his thinking is quite striking. I could certainly see why it appealed to me so when I was young. He encourages Kappus to “…have patience about everything that is still unresolved in your heart…for now, live the questions..” He counsels Kappus to be patient with his sorrows, to dive deep into his solitude. Something else he writes that really struck me is – I am paraphrasing – that we don’t move forward into the future but that the future emerges through us, that it is stationary and it is us that are moving “…through infinite space.” Will be pondering this for awhile.
This was a good, thoughtful read for those dark, quiet times before the rest of the house wakes up. It is a small book, just over 150 pages, and was a real pleasure to reacquaint myself with.