“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
My father often spoke of Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden; or Life in the Woods. As we celebrate Easter today and Earth Day tomorrow, I am reminded that nature conspires to bestow a peaceful grace upon humanity and all who share our world
“Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy.“
I find great joy in the memories of conversations with my father. I share his profound belief in our need to be fully engaged within nature. Like Thoreau, he recognized that heaven was “under our feet as well as over our heads”
A River Flows Through Our Lives from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
The singular connection throughout the narratives of the ancient world was the search for truth. This universal appeal resonates throughout history. Establishing objective truth is difficult as times because it must pass through the lens of personal values. We want the truth, yet want it to be in compliance with our internal belief system.
Truth exacts a high price; that we relinquish our desire for security and opt for an uncertain, risk-filled existence. It is as Dumbledore said, In J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, “The truth…It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.” Our intrepid ancients accepted the challenge. Truth and knowledge were preferable to living within a society bound by superstition and controlled by myths and legends.
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth,” was Henry David Thoreau’s entreaty in Walden. In the end, love, fame, and glory are all subordinate to truth. It is the genesis of hope, of progress, of moving forward.
“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau met in 1837. Lucy Brown, who boarded at David Thoreau’s home, was the sister-in-law of Ralph Waldo Emerson. On April 9th, she introduced the two men who were destined to form a lifelong friendship. Emerson was 34 and Thoreau was a 20-year old Harvard senior. Both men were to become leaders in the transcendental philosophical movement that sprang up in the 1830’s and 1840’s, which spoke to the connection between man and nature. Perhaps the genesis of frugality comes from differentiating between wants and needs, desires and requirements.
“We make ourselves rich by making our wants few.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Have you ever said – “I wish we could go back to the good old days.” Somehow, we seem to forget that there were problems back then, too!!
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”
Henry David Thoreau
September is my favourite month. There is energy, freshness in the breeze as I walk on Vancouver’s famous Seawall. On a clear September morning, I can see the water touch the mountains.
“Men go back to the mountains, as they go back to sailing ships at sea, because in the mountains and on the sea they must face up.” Henry David Thoreau
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
I agree with Thoreau – what we see is all that really matters. About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to photograph the work of an aspiring Vancouver artist. The title of his work was Daily Disasters.
The colours reflect the colours of Vancouver: bright flowers with blue skies and rain clouds.
The artist remains a mystery to me. His paintings do not hang in an art gallery. They belong to the public.
I see art, although some tell me it really is a garbage can.