I have a room all to myself; it is nature.

Photo: A woman swims in Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., on what would have been the 200th birthday of Henry David Thoreau, author of the book ‘Walden.’ He was born on July 12, 1817. (Brian Snyder, Reuters, wsj.com July 12, 2017)


Post Title: Henry David Thoreau

 

Smell it. Ohio Soil. Humus.

old-book-smell_5

Spent the day in Cambridge Library.

The Library a wilderness of books. The volumes of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, which lie so near on the shelf, are rarely opened, are effectually forgotten and not implied by our literature and newspapers. When I looked into Purchas’s Pilgrims, it affected me like looking into an impassable swamp, ten feet deep with sphagnum, where the monarchs of the forest, covered with mosses and stretched along the ground, were making haste to become peat. Those old books suggested a certain fertility, an Ohio soil, as if they were making a humus for new literatures to spring in. I heard the bellowing of bullfrogs and the hum of mosquitoes reverberating through the thick embossed covers when I had closed the book. Decayed literature makes the richest of all soils.

~ Henry David Thoreau, Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837-1861


Source: Brainpickings

How could I have looked him in the face?

art-face-awake-sleep

The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?

~ Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For


Sources: Quote – Brainpickings. Art: Distant Passion

5:59 am. Inspired. (And Thankful)

sunburst-morning-sunrise

Here are my selections for the inspiring posts of the week, this Thanksgiving week:

Jeffrey Foltice @ Photo Nature Blog with his photo above titled Morning Sunburst: the sunrise is near Hudsonville, Michigan. Check out Jeff’s other amazing work here.

Greg @ Sippican Cottage with his post Thanksgiving 2013: “…I think the worst condition of man is loneliness. It is a terrible thing to be lonely, or worse, truly alone. No one goes crazy in general population. It’s solitary that eats at your mind. Even the craziest of men, immured in stone, unable to get even a glimpse of the bright, blue tent of the sky, scratch at the walls to leave a message; to tell another that they were there… I am not alone in this world, which is good, because I have a melancholy nature. I am married, and I have children to throw rolls over the table at one another. They are my name, scratched on the unyielding wall of the world, telling anyone that will bother to notice that I was here. My family makes me calm about many things…People don’t often appreciate things that come readily to hand. I’m a person… We will have enough to eat, and sit in a warm room, laugh and wonder at the dogeared cards we have been dealt, and I’ll try mightily to shed the light that is my true function, to make me more fit for my work. We will all pray over our plate like children. Thanksgiving is the only kind of prayer that you can be sure will work, because it faces backwards. I tap on the wall of the Intertunnel, too. I often feel disconnected from my fellow passengers on this spinning rock, moreso each day. I wonder if some other inmate, some fellow traveler, might hear my tapping, and be braced by the thought of a fellow internee. I often hear tapping in return, and it refreshes me to carry on.” Amazing post.  More here [Read more…]

August 13 (today), 1851: I am dissolved in the haze

Thoreau, Henry David Thoreau

In the journal entries recorded in subsequent weeks and months, we meet with no passages quite so ornate or imposing as this epiphany entered on August 13, today, in 1851…

Thoreau made the following entry under the heading “Drifting”:

“Drifting in a sultry day on the sluggish waters of the pond, I almost cease to live – and begin to be.  A boat-man stretched on the deck of his craft, and dallying with the noon, would be as apt an emblem of eternity for me, as the serpent with his tail in his mouth.  I am never so prone to lose my identity.  I am dissolved in the haze.”

~ Professor Alan D. Hodder, Thoreau’s Ecstatic Witness (p.63). From Henry David Thoreau’s journal entries on August 13, 1851.


Photograph Credit: Time.  Quote Credit: Thank you Makebelieveboutique

Running. With Marc and Eddy Verbessem.

Identical Twins, Euthanasia, Belgium


5:30 am.  59F. Birds up and singing in all their glory.  It’s still.  Very still.

I put on my Adidas running shorts.  Rachel’s scolding from months back surfaces: “I can see your tan line.  They’re too short.  Those are Perv Shorts.  Embarrassing. Go change.”  I growl.   Now, each time I put them on, I’m thinking Perv-Man.  Words. Killer.  What a delicate flower.

What do you want to do for Father’s Day Dad?
I’d like to be left alone for the day.
Really?
Yes, if you could arrange for me to be sitting alone next to Thoreau, at Walden Pond, listening in on his thoughts, that would be a perfect Sunday.”
“Who? What?”
Forget it Honey.  Forget it.”
Have to say Dad, you have to stop your incoherent mumbling.” [Read more…]

Sunday Morning: The Ear is stunned. The Nose is outraged. The Eye is confused.

forest, woods,nature,lake,photography

“I owe much to my excursions to Nature. They have helped to clothe me with health, if not with humility; they have helped sharpen and attune all my senses; they have kept my eyes in such good trim that they have not failed me for one moment during all the seventy-five years I have had them; they have made my sense of smell so keen that I have much pleasure in the wild, open-air perfumes, especially in the spring—the delicate breath of the blooming elms and maples and willows, the breath of the woods, of the pastures, of the shore. This keen, healthy sense of smell has made me abhor tobacco and flee from close rooms, and put the stench of cities behind me. I fancy that this whole world of wild, natural perfumes is lost to the tobacco-user and to the city- dweller. Senses trained in the open air are in tune with open-air objects; they are quick, delicate, and discriminating. When I go to town, my ear suffers as well as my nose: the impact of the city upon my senses is hard and dissonant; the ear is stunned, the nose is outraged, and the eye is confused. When I come back, I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.”

– John Burroughs


John Burroughs (1837 – 1921) was an American naturalist and essayist important in the evolution of the U.S. conservation movement.  John Burroughs was the most important practitioner after Henry David Thoreau of that especially American literary genre, the nature essay. By the turn of the 20th century he had become a virtual cultural institution in his own right: the Grand Old Man of Nature at a time when the American romance with the idea of nature, and the American conservation movement, had come fully into their own. His extraordinary popularity and popular visibility were sustained by a prolific stream of essay collections, beginning with Wake-Robin in 1871.

Burroughs was the seventh child of ten children. He was born on the family farm in the Catskill Mountains, near Roxbury, New York. As a child he spent many hours on the slopes of Old Clump Mountain, looking off to the east and the higher peaks of the Catskills. As he labored on the family farm he was captivated by the return of the birds each spring and other wildlife around the family farm including frogs and bumblebees. In his later years he credited his life as a farm boy for his subsequent love of nature and feeling of kinship with all rural things.  During his teen years Burroughs showed a keen interest in learning. He read whatever books he could get his hands on and was fascinated by new words or known words applied in new ways.  Burroughs’ father believed the basic education provided by the local school was enough and refused to support the young Burroughs when he asked for money to pay for the books or the higher education he wanted. At the age of 17 Burroughs left home to earn the money he needed for college by teaching at a school in Olive, New York.  Burroughs went on to take various teaching positions.

(Source: Wiki)


Credits:

There is no world for the penitent and regretful…

Paisatge - Joaquim Mir (Barcelona 1873-1940)


There is a season for everything, and we do not notice a given phenomenon except at that season, if, indeed, it can be called the same phenomenon at any other season. There is a time to watch the ripples on Ripple Lake, to look for arrowheads, to study the rocks and lichens, a time to walk on sandy deserts; and the observer of nature must improve these seasons as much as the farmer his. So boys fly kites and play ball or hawkie at particular times all over the State. A wise man will know what game to play to-day, and play it. We must not be governed by rigid rules, as by the almanac, but let the season rule us. The moods and thoughts of man are revolving just as steadily and incessantly as nature’s. Nothing must be postponed. Take time by the forelock. Now or never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this, or the like of this. Where the good husbandman is, there is the good soil. Take any other course, and life will be a succession of regrets. Let us see vessels sailing prosperously before the wind, and not simply stranded barks. There is no world for the penitent and regretful.

    ~ Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)


Thank you Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers for quote.  Thank you madamescherzo for the Joaquim Mir (Barcelona  1873-1940) painting titled Paisatge.

I believe that whatever we need is at hand…

canoeing down river in fog

“He wanted to drift on the river not so much to see where it went as to be one with it, to go with it as virtually a part of it. He wished perhaps to live out a kind of parable. One cannot drift by intention – or at least, in intending to drift and in drifting, one must accept a severe limitation upon one’s intentions. But in giving oneself to the currents, in thus subordinating one’s intentions, one becomes eligible for unintended goods, unwished – for gifts – and often these goods and gifts surpass those that one has intended or wished for. And so a drifter subscribes necessarily to a kind of faith that is identical both to the absolute trust of migrating birds and to the scripture that bids us to lose our lives in order to find them. Harlan stated it in 1932 with characteristic simplicity:

‘I believe that whatever we need is at hand.’”

~ Wendell Berry


Quote Source: dhammanovice.  Wendell Berry from “Harlan Hubbard – Life and Work” via the beauty we love: He wanted to drift

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