Still Learning To See

Looking to the past

The past so often helps guide me through the present toward the future.

Liz sent me to a remarkable website this morning that shares absolutely stunning watercolors having a rich feel for life.

There I read this quote from Thoreau who says so well what I’ve tried to say in  other posts:

“We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day. We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. I am sensible that I am imbibing health when I open my mouth to the wind. Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always. Every house is in this sense, a sort of hospital. A night and a forenoon is as much confinement to those wards as I can stand. I am aware that I recover some sanity, which I had lost, almost the instant that I come abroad.

Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”

I went on to have a long, fine walk with my two friends Rob and Michael later in the morning—a gray day with 28F and a stiff wind but warmed by exploring new hiking territory in East Montpelier. What a joy to be outside in it all, looking back into history to find the truth of Thoreau’s words.

I made these photographs on Martha’s Vineyard on another fine but different kind of day in the fall of 2010. Liz and I were walking the beach below the Gay Head cliffs with our dear friends the Harrisons.

The colors of the clay cliffs, changing in the seaside light, are an artist’s dream. One day I’ll see them in winter with ice and snow and a cold ocean wind—”brute nature”—remembering Thoreau’s words!

This entry was published on January 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Looking to the past

  1. Love the pictures of the Gay Head cliffs. Reminds me of when I used to climb them as a youngster with my siblings and cousins back in the 1960’s. I also appreciate your great words of wisdom!

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Best,
    Kevin

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