Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ozarks 27.7.04: Water-Reflected Light, Paths of Mist in Pines

Sunrise at the cabin, compared to sunset: sunset ushers in a cool evening; sunrise touches the cool damp depths of the valley with fingers of warmth. Sunset catches to fire the leaves of the elm beside the mere. As beams of setting sun sparkle on the rippling surface of the water, the leaves and trunk of the tree dance with light, as if the entire tree is illumined by some artificial power source. With the diamond gleam of the green leaves in the setting sun and the play of water-reflected light, day ends in symphony sublime.

Morning sun traces paths of mist down through the pines, onto the cabin’s chimney. I sit now in the first beam of light as the sun rises over the eastern hilltop, though the far western lip of the mere has been lit up for some time now. And as I watch, drops of water fall through the light, evidently from leaves laden with moisture, as a breeze troubles the still air. Like sunset, a sight almost too beautiful for human eyes to see.

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Thoreau, A Walk on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: “Alas, the poet too, is, in one sense, a sort of dormouse gone into winter quarters of deep and serene thought, insensible to surrounding circumstances; his words are the relation of his oldest and finest memory, as wisdom drawn from the remotest experience. Other men lead a starved existence, meanwhile, like hawks, that would fain keep on the wing, and trust to pick up a sparrow now and then.”

Which reminds me: the other day, as we drove, we passed a blind man standing very still and silent on the street. It was as if he were intently listening, concentrating on some inner reality to the exclusion of all outer concern . . . .

I see the sun set, rise, as a blind man does.

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Mary Oliver, Long Life: “Surely he was looking for something that would abide beyond the Tuesday or the Saturday.” This vis-à-vis Emerson.

And then this astonishing passage—astonishing because it encapsulates so precisely what I just wrote: “The lofty fun of it is that his ‘appearances’ were all merely material and temporal—brick walls, garden walls, ripening pears—while his facts were all of a shifty vapor and an unauthored good-will—the luminosity of the pears, the music of birds and the wind, the affirmative staring-out light of the night stars.”

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Thoreau, Civil Disobedience: “Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divides states and churches, it divides families; aye, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.”

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