Posts Tagged ‘Henry David Thoreau’

Welcome back from vacation, Sally.  I hope it was a relaxing, wonderful time.  As impossible as it seems to me, it’s already August and as it’s the first Monday, the theme once again is “Nature.”  The vast majority of my photos come from times when I’m in nature, allowing it to refresh and rejuvenate me, so I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to choosing a photo for the theme.

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
~Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

If Anne Frank, with all that she endured, could think and feel this, it’s well worth our time to spend time outside, away from the hustle and bustle of our everyday life, made even more so by the ease with which technology allows us to add to that load of “stuff.”

IMG_2988

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more
~George Gordon Byron

This next reflection was taken along the I&M Canal in Illinois, a wonderful place to bike or hike.  Take a moment to read about it and the importance it had to Chicago and to travel and trade in the US in general.  It’s a magical place to spend time.

DSC_0620-001

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

To anticipate, not the sunrise and dawn merely, but, if possible. Nature herself!  How many mornings, summer and winter, before any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine!  No doubt, many of my townsmen have met me returning from this enterprise, farmers starting for Boston in the twilight or woodchoppers going to their work.  it is true, I never assisted the sun materially in his rising, but, doubt not, it was of the last importance only to be present at it.
~Henry David Thoreau

IMG_7739

It’s admittedly easier to be, like Thoreau, present at the sunrise, during the spring and fall (or even winter), when sunrise doesn’t arrive at 5 am or thereabouts.  But whenever possible, or at least once every so often if you’re not a morning person, it’s worth the effort to be somewhere you can see the sun rise in peaceful solitude.  True, the sunrise does not need you to occur, but I believe each of us needs it.

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.
  ~Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

IMG_2052

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
~Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems

*****

The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
~Henry David Thoreau

*****

Join us any time at Lens and Pens by Sally for the weekly photo challenge for non-traditional cameras.  You’ll love it!

Yesterday, I had included links to all my Chihuly posts, approved them early in the morning, then found tonight that they weren’t included.  If you missed them, please feel free to go back to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid…flower power and you’ll find them at the bottom, below the photo.  Sorry about whatever it was WordPress did.

This week’s theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge, “Early Bird“, is right in my sweet spot.  I wake up early no matter what time I go to sleep and, being married to a night owl, that means I don’t always get as much sleep as I’d like.  But it does make for some glorious morning photos and time to be almost alone on the path in the park.  This morning there was some early fog and the sun was just up from the horizon, allowing me this glimpse of beauty.  If the early bird really does catch the worm, this is a worm I’ll catch as often as possible!

Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

IMG_2436

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.
~Emily Dickinson

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

~William Blake

Although from a pet point of view, I’m a horse or dog person, when I go to the zoo, I love to see the cats.  They’re sleek, graceful, and deadly-looking.  The cheetah, which has to be the favorite of a sprinter, usually looks bored with the small amount of space allotted it, often pacing back and forth, while eying visitors with an intense look.  Perhaps dreams of fast food are running through its head.

In common with bears, wild cats elicit comments about how cute and furry they are.  But there’s a reason the word “wild” appears in front of the word “animals” and we do well to remember it.

I have two sets of thoughts about zoos.  I regret that the animals there are caged and not allowed to live in their natural habitat.  I also love the opportunity to see them “in person”, so speak.  Many of them would be dead if in the wild and some species are being hunted almost to extinction outside zoo habitats.  So I enjoy the beauty of the animals as the zoo and am grateful for the opportunity to see them.

I’ve already shared a few posts about our trip to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.  Here’s the first look at the cats we saw there.

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
Chinese Proverb

 IMG_9859

It is not part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious.
~Henry David Thoreau

IMG_9861

God made the cat to give man the pleasure of stroking a tiger.
~John Gardner

IMG_9862

The impact of an attacking tiger can be compared to that of a piano falling on you from a second story window. But unlike the piano, the tiger is designed to do this, and the impact is only the beginning.
~John Vaillant, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

The France most people know is that of the south:  pastel homes and shutters, chèvre, Provencal linens, the Mediterranean; theglamorous France of movies.  The France we’re visiting is the France of stone houses, forests, cows and their cheese; of a difficult existence gained through hard work.  We’re near Mélisey,  ( http://www.francethisway.com/places/a/melisey-haute-saone.php; http://www.maplandia.com/france/franche-comte/haute-saone/lure/melisey/).photo 1(74)

Europe is in the grip of rainy weather as we arrive, but we manage a walk during a break in the rain.  It seems to be still raining, but it’s simply water dripping from trees and plants.

The perfect companion

The perfect companion

The path (road) beckons.  The only sounds we hear besides the rain are the sounds of birds and insects.  The forest is completely peaceful, even though we know animals are everywhere, even wild boar.  I’d rather not come across one of those while walking, although if one walked by at the bottom of the yard, as happened once before, I would enjoy seeing it from the safely of the house.

photo 2(73)

The forest here is similar in many ways to a rain forest and although fire was a consideration earlier in the summer, now there is plenty of rain.  The moss thrives.  There’s a feel of Tolkien or Lewis in the silent, verdant growth and in the stones littered everywhere.  You can feel the Celtic influences here and a certain fey-ness in the air at times.  Eking out a farming existence here is difficult due to thick growth, rocks left from glaciers and thin soil.

photo 2(74)

Mushrooms, raspberries and blackberries grow nearby.  The dogs love raspberries and compete with their humans for the ripe ones. Several of the dogs are more discriminating than others, dexterously eating on the ripe berries, while at least one indiscriminately grabs berry, leaves and stem, then spits them out.  The lovely ceramic or glass pots that we get yogurt in work perfectly for filling with the small, sweet berries. Flowers brighten the area that’s crammed with ferns and all sorts of (mostly) green growing things.  Not far along the road, we see beehives and, stopping, hear the sound of thousands of humming bees.

photo 3(61)

Across from the hives we find a gigantic ant hill, about 2 – 2 1/2 feet tall and quite wide.  Ants are vital to the forest life and are protected.

photo 4(39)

There are a few more days of rain in the forecast.  No chance of the moss drying out for some time.

photo 5(24)

 If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. 

~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
Thoreau

We’re on the cusp of spring. As lights bloom from windows darkened by night, spring has danced away again. The fickle wind tonight sides with winter, madly blowing back the cold. It’s a rearguard battle. For a time, winter will lie heavily on the land. But spring will trip lightly back again…and again…and again… until winter has been routed once more. The welling joy brought by warmer weather is now tamped down, yet it sneaks out gloriously at random moments. The sun teases, promising what it can’t or won’t yet deliver, yet the promise is one that will soon come true. And so I wait, mostly patiently.

***************

Today I take a walk around the small lake that lies near our housing development. Although it’s really a run-off lake, the wonderful park system in our Chicago suburb has made it a lovely place. Now it too waits patiently for spring, surrounded by dead and battened-down grass punctuated by brittle brown stalks of last year’s milkweed topped by mostly empty pods. Almost everything looks as though it would snap off easily. Trash is enmeshed everywhere, filling me with rage at those who thoughtlessly throw out what could so easily be thrown away.

Geese sit on the ice, kept warm by fat and feathers, I suppose.  Others waddle away, bottoms twitching pertly, as I walk by. Later when the goslings arrive, I may have to detour at times to avoid hissing, belligerent parents, but for now they’re content to move. I’ve learned to hiss right back, which works most of the time.  The ice at the edge of the pond is thin now with water visible in places. Not far out, though, it’s still winter white and firm-looking, though I wouldn’t test it with my weight. It holds the geese without a problem.

In the mud I see a large dog print, large enough to be a Hound-of-the-Baskervilles puppy. On the other side of the lake is an empty deck where often a big, fluffy-haired white dog barks out of boredom at people passing by. He’ll probably be sad to see winter leave, his fur a distinct disadvantage in summer’s heat. Still, that’s far away from today.  We haven’t even reached spring warmth yet.

I get only a short distance before my iPod stops working. I forgot to charge it after my last walk and now I leave the earbuds in to keep the wind out of my ears. My mind wanders, thinking about writing this post, then dancing on to other random thoughts. I have the path to myself, sans geese, and it is, as our older daughter once said when she was little, “a beautiful day.”

 

photo(165)