Saturday, September 8, 2012

can you show me a sign, without your body

The sun has just burst through the fog, and I hear bluebirds, song-sparrows, larks, and robins down in the meadow. The other day I walked in the woods, but found myself rather denaturalized by late habits. Yet it is the same nature that Burns and Wordsworth loved the same life that Shakspeare and Milton lived . The wind still roars in the wood, as if nothing had happened out of the course of nature.  The sound of the waterfall is not interrupted more than if a feather had fallen. Nature is not ruffled by the rudest blast-The hurricane only snaps a few twigs in some nook of the forest. The snow attains its average depth each winter, and the chicadee lisps the same notes. The old laws prevail in spite of pestilence and famine. No genius or virtue so rare & revolutionary appears in town or village,  that the pine ceases to exude resin in the wood, or beast or bird lays aside its habits. How plain that death is only the phenomenon of the individual or class. Nature does not recognize it, she finds her own again under new forms without loss . Yet death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident - It is as common as life. Men die in Tartary, in Ethiopia - in England - in Wisconsin. And after all what portion of this so serene and living nature can be said to be alive? Do this year's grasses and foliage outnumber all the past. Every blade in the field - every leaf in the forest - lays down its life in its season as beautifully as it was taken up. It is the pastime of a full quarter of the year. Dead trees sere leaves - dried grass and herbs - are not these a good part of our life? And what is that pride of our autumnal scenery but the hectic flush - the sallow and cadaverous countenance of vegetation - its painted throes - with the November air for canvas. When we look over the fields are  we not saddened because the particular flowers or grasses will wither - for the law of their death is the law of new life. Will not the land be in good heart because the crops die down from year to year? The herbage cheerfully consents to bloom, and wither, and give place to a new. So it is with the human plant. We are partial and selfish when we lament the death of the individual, unless our plaint be a paean to the departed soul, and a sigh as the wind sighs over the fields, which no shrub interprets into its private grief. One might as well go into mourning for every sere leaf - but the more innocent and wiser soul will snuff a fragrance in the gales of autumn, and congratulate Nature upon her health. After I have imagined thus much will not the Gods feel under obligation to make me realize something as good. Only Nature has a right to grieve perpetually, for she only is innocent.  ~ "excerpt of a letter" by Henry David Thoreau

Fall is without a doubt, certainly my favorite season. The fragrance, the progressive change of the colors of the leaves decorating deciduous trees,  the dancing leaves drifting about, the cooling air temperatures, the vanishing humidity, the clearing skies, and the peculiar feeling of Nature's coming to life, though the leaves are  actually dying. I do believe all the characteristics of Fall's arrival above help remind us of pieces of our lives, and though significant and a breath of life, are much more a part of something grander and to the point of being, of life and death, as Thoreau so cleverly puts it.

just north of Turner's Gap looking south, the mountain shrouded in clouds at center is Lamb's Knoll. You can see it's spire at top when viewed closely, the AT runs only a few dozen feet from the summit

I can never abstain from Phantogram for any real length of time.

All Dried Up by Phantogram. Best when loud.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Woods of Late Summer

Yet I experienced sometimes that the most sweet and tender, the most innocent and encouraging society may be found in any natural object, even for the poor misanthrope and most melancholy man. There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst of Nature and has his senses still. There was never yet such a storm but it was Aeolian music to a healthy and innocent ear. Nothing can rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness. While I enjoy the friendship of the seasons I trust that nothing can make life a burden to me. The gentle rain which waters my beans and keeps me in the house to-day is not drear and melancholy, but good for me too. Though it prevents my hoeing them, it is of far more worth than my hoeing. If it should continue so long as to cause the seeds to rot in the ground and destroy the potatoes in the low lands, it would still be good for the grass on the uplands, and, being good for the grass, it would be good for me. Sometimes, when I compare myself with other men, it seems as if I were more favored by the gods than they, beyond any deserts that I am conscious of; as if I had a warrant and surety at their hands which my fellows have not, and were especially guided and guarded. I do not flatter myself, but if it be possible they flatter me. I have never felt lonesome, or in the least bit oppressed by a sense of solitude, but once, and that was a few weeks after I came to the woods, when, for an hour, I doubted if the near neighborhood of man was not essential to a serene and healthy life. To be alone was something unpleasant. But I was at the same time conscious of a slight insanity in my mood, and seemed to foresee my recovery. In the midst of a gentle rain while these thoughts prevailed, I was suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in the very pattering of the drops, and in every sound and sight around my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like an atmosphere sustaining me, as made the fancied advantages of human neighborhood insignificant, and I have never thought of them since. Every little pine needle expanded and swelled with sympathy and befriended me. I was so distinctly aware of the presence of something kindred to me, even in scenes which we are accustomed to call wild and dreary, and also that the nearest of blood to me and humanest was not a person nor a villager, that I though no place could ever be strange to me again. ~Henry David Thoreau (Walden)

Mountain Laurel lined trail

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes.