Sunday, June 20, 2010
"Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry."
~Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau also said, "I wonder what the world is doing today." Today I do too. I woke up with a list a mile long - things to accomplish, goals to reach, lists to whittle away at, stuff to do. Important stuff like weeding the garden, tending the herbs, cleaning the garage, fixing the pump in my waterfall in the back yard, and the list goes on.
But I got side-tracked when I found a box of old books in the garage one dating back to 1897, Carolyle's Heroes and Hero Worship. I love books. I love reading them, collecting them, stacking them in a pile on the nightstand hoping to someday read them all. I love absorbing them, feeling the paper, and I love smelling them, inhaling them. Great wisdom is often found between the covers of books. The particular books I discovered belonged to my Aunt Mary and my father.
The small brown leather book with yellowed fragile pages holds much wisdom. Phrases are circled by a pen dipped long, long ago in black ink. Words underlined transformed me and transported me to 1897 to visions of someone holding a pen reading these words and wanting to remember certain passages and underlining them, much as I do today with books that I read.
Who was this person whose name is handwritten on the blank page at the beginning of the book named Ernest Parsons from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee? Odd how you can begin to tell a great deal about a person by what he underlines and finds of importance in a weathering old book. A sentence underlined, speaking of Dante, says "for nothing so endures as a truly spoken word." And in the margin of the book hand written in the late 1800's is "The immortality of great poetry. Because he speaks from the heart of man, he speak to all men's hearts."
Do they teach this anymore?
Referencing music the book continues, "Who is there that in logical words, can express the effect music has on us...observe too how all passionate language does of itself become musical...the speech of a man even in zealous anger becomes a chant, a song. All deep things are Song. It seems showhow the very central essence of us, Song: as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls.!"
So today I bury myself in "The Bluebird Carries the Sky on His Back, by Thoreau. I am embedded in words and emotions felt while reading his words.
The work will wait. For today Thoreau won't.
"As we stand in the midst of the pines, we wonder if the towns have ever heard their simple story. We borrow from the forest the boards which shelter and sticks which warm us...What would human life be without forests, those natural cities? From the tops of mountains they appear like smooth-shaven lawns, yet whither shall we walk but in this taller grass? A pure elastic heaven hangs over all, as if the impurities of the summer sky refined and shrunk by the chaste winter's , had been winnowed from the heavens upon the earth."
~Henry David Thoreau