Monday, August 19, 2013


Let Practical People Sneer

Bradford Torrey (1843-1912), "Esoteric Peripateticism," A Rambler's Lease (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1894), pp. 189-205 (at 193-194):
What a benediction of repose falls upon us sometimes from an old tree, as we pass under it! So self-poised it seems; so alive, and yet so still! It was planted here before we were born. It will be green and flourishing long after we are dead. In it we may behold a perfect illustration of the dignity and peace of a life undeviatingly obedient to law,—the law of its own being; never in haste, never at a loss, but in every fibre doing, day by day, its appropriate work. Sunshine and rain, heat and cold, calm and storm,—all minister to its necessities. It has only to stand in its place and grow; happy in springtime, with its buds and leaves; happy in autumn, with its fruit; happy, too, in winter,—repining not when forced to wait through months of bareness and dearth for the touch of returning warmth. Enviable tree! As we contemplate it, we feel ourselves rebuked, and, at the same time, comforted. We, also, will be still, and let the life that is in us work itself out to the appointed end.
Id., pp. 197-198:
How shall one blest with a feeling for the woods put into language the delight he experiences in sauntering along their shady aisles? He enjoys the stillness, the sense of seclusion, the flicker of sunlight and shadow, the rustle of leaves, the insect's hum, the passing of the chance butterfly, the chirp of the bird, or its full-voiced song, the tracery of lichens on rock and tree, the tuft of ferns, the carpet of moss, the brightness of blossom and fruit,—all the numberless sights and sounds of the forest; but it is not any of these, nor all of them together, that make the glory of the place. It is the wood—and this is something more than the sum of all its parts—which lays hold upon him, taking him, as it were, out of the world and out of himself. Let practical people sneer, and the industrious frown; we who retain our relish for these natural and innocent felicities may well enough be indifferent to neighborly comments. Whatever worldlings may think, the hour is not wasted that brings with it tranquillity of mind and an uplifting of the heart. We seem to be going nowhere and looking for nothing? Yes; but one may be glad to visit the Land of Beulah, though he have no special errand thither.

Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886), In the Woods

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?