Unseasonably warm weather continues here in the North Country. A mild November has given way to a mild December. Instead of snow we have days of fog, gray skies, and brown grass.
This winter I am reading and re-reading Thoreau with an eye to arriving next spring in different place: poetically, philosophically, and ontologically.
Ontology is a word I hear seldom in my work-a-day world (read that never), where once it was such a prevalent word in all my worlds: work, academic, and reading.
For the American thinker especially, Nature is the natural (pun intended) starting place to begin to talk about philosophy and theology, about being itself. Nature and our relationship with Nature… the dance of being that is our spiritual and artistic font.
Reading Thoreau in the winter is like spending the summer in the wilderness. It is restorative and re-creative. It is an intellectual pilgrimage, The Way of Nature.
This week, a few brief quotes about trees and water.
I stopped short in the path today to admire how the trees grow up without forethought regardless of the time and circumstances. They do not wait as men do— now is the golden age of the sapling— Earth, air, sun, and rain, are occasion enough….
On Lakes and Rivers
I should wither and dry up if it were not for lakes and rivers. I am conscious that my body derives its genesis from their waters, as much as the muskrat or the herbage on their brink. The thought of Walden in the woods yonder makes me supple jointed and limber for the duties of the day. Sometimes I thirst for it. There it lies all the year reflecting the sky— and from its surface there seems to go up a pillar of ether, which bridges over the space between earth and heaven. Water seems a middle element between earth and air. The most fluid in which man can float. Across the surface of every lake there sweeps a hushed music.