Sunday, March 28, 2010

Days 86 and 87: Watching an Oak....



Struggling with a cold, I've only been outside to take the dog on a couple of "comfort" walks. Mostly I've been sleeping. Tried to make some mud yesterday, but after one wheelbarrow full, I abandoned Joni and went into the Cabin to take a six hour nap.

For the past few weeks, Joni and I have been trading a cold back and forth. I don't know if it is the same virus, resurrected in the other person---or a brand new bug with unfortunate timing. Joni is sleeping behind me as I write this.

I awaken and watch the tree above. An oak tree. I've been watching it leaf out over the past couple of days. Every hour the leaves get bigger. What I find fascinating is that the oak hasn't dropped all of last year's leaves yet. So the old and the new share the same branch. New growth next to dead leaves.

I've also been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays while waiting for the fever to break. Specifically: "Self Reliance". I find it a little offensive that good old Ralph would write an essay with this title. After all, he didn't have to really put in an honest days work after he had the good fortune to marry rich--and then to have that first wife die after a year and a half of marriage. He was set for life in his twenties.

Unlike most of the idle rich, Emerson put his money to good use. He lived modestly. Took care of friends. And he financially supported some of the best writers America has ever produced. Thoreau built his famous cabin on Emerson's land. Nathaniel Hawthorne shared meals with Ralphie. Amongst others.

So what about "Self Reliance"? Masterful! Powerful sentences. Like this:

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude".

Amen.

1 comment:

Woodswalker said...

Great Emerson quote! Hope you feel better soon.