Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
The lyrics are thus:
I wish we could open our eyes,
To see in all directions at the same time.
Oh what a beautiful view,
If you were never aware of what was around you.
And it is true what you said,
That I live like a hermit in my own head.
But when the sun shines again,
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.
Anyhow, I feel that they are self explanatory. Thought people might enjoy. Also, here is a picture drawn by Emerson himself. This was shown to me by my friend Taylor Fitzgerald, I didn't want to take credit for her glorious find.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile. The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible.”
Saturday, February 25, 2012
While reading the remainder of “Nature”, I found myself fighting an internal battle (which caused much distraction) over whether or not I agreed with Emerson in his first chapter. In chapter one (also entitled Nature), Emerson says “to go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.” At first, I completely balked at this idea. Is Emerson crazy? I feel the least alone when I look at the stars or walk in the woods or hike a mountain on my own. For the longest time, going into nature was one of the only means I had through which I could feel “not alone”. Growing up with few friends in a very isolated yet forest-rich village, I spent a lot of my time “alone” in nature but I can never remember feeling lonely. No, I felt lonely when I was alone in a house or a room.
That particular thought caused me to wonder if I was thinking about this all wrong. I was equating lonely with alone which is wrong (especially if you agree with Kelly Clarkson and every other empowering post-break up song ever written). In thinking back, while I never felt lonely tramping around the Weld woods, did I ever feel alone? When hiking on my own these days I never feel lonely, but do I ever feel alone? Well, yes, I do. I think in separating “lonely” from “alone”, I was able to understand and agree (for the most part) with this passage of Emerson’s.
Out here, in the middle of nowhere, I feel like I am in that poem; the one I can never remember the name of, but I completely misunderstood back in middle school. The snow filled woods are silent and lovely in a way that does not do them justice, indescribable. But if you look at the poem, in the faint light of a sun blocked by so many clouds, the woods are smothering the observer. Curled up near the wood stove, just watching the large flakes of precipitation float along the wind currents, I feel like that. Never falling straight down, they all but fly: left and right, swirling in circles, suddenly changing direction as they encounter a windfall against the glass doors, gently returning back toward the sky as an updraft catches them. So many layers of movement, all superimposed upon each other, yet balanced. The scene is not crowded or busy, but yet the movement is everywhere. A magic eye picture, there is no one part to look at, but rather you most look at everything and nothing. Then, finally, you see it, the flakes all falling perfectly into place and... everything scatters. A hard gust ripping across the deck, throwing already settled snow into the air, hard to the left, creating a heavy curtain of white streaks that can't be penetrated with the naked eye. Just as suddenly as it has begun, it's gone. The snowflakes regain their composure, sinking back down and continuing their dance. A dramatic ballet, the softness interrupted by tension that is so out of place, as yet flows perfectly together so you can't imagine one without the other.
Somehow, my blog post has become an ode to snowfall, void of both the Emerson necessity and the philosophy necessity. I know I was going somewhere with this. I could speak of Emerson's ideas of beauty. How he wants to give credit to man as well as Nature when he sees a sight so spectacular he cannot help but sit in awe. I could speak of how this idea at first offended me. The snow will dance on, even after we stop observing it. Snow cares nothing for Schrodinger and quantum mechanics, but I may be wrong. I have never trod out to the middle of a dense forest. I know not if the snow dances on, or if the evergreens snatch them from from their airy flight like so many hungry children when candy is thrown.
But if you'll excuse me, I'd prefer to go role-play as Dorothy Wordsworth and go tromp through the snow childishly while not thinking of my love for my brother.
I have a hundred more things to say about Emerson, but I think I'll save them for class.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Upon first impression, Emerson seems to approach nature and spirit as intertwined, for he says, “It is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both,” (Nature) and, “Nature is the symbol of spirit” (Language). These two statements imply that man’s spirit and nature work hand-in-hand to produce mutual respect and understanding. I’d like to believe this is so, that our spiritual tendencies as humans derive from a deep understanding and appreciation of nature. However, Emerson later goes on to say, “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship…The noblest ministry of nature is to stand as the apparition of God” (Spirit). If Nature is so noble as an apparition, Emerson implies that nature is like a ghost, inaccessible to human understanding, and simply able to exist. If this is so, it appears that man is not worthy, for man does not exist as a mere ghost. In fact, mankind seems to be on a quest to “know the primitive sense of the permanent objects of nature, so that the world shall be to [man] an open book” (Language). Ultimately, man attempts to make sense of everything and anything that surrounds him. Man is fighting in a self-declared Nature vs. Man battle. By doing so, it seems that man possesses insecurities: mankind fears not being all-knowing, and mankind is the alpha animal, so should mankind know all? Emerson implies that there is something to be learned from nature in this light. If nature simply exists without any attempts to manifest itself, it is considered noble. Therefore, perhaps mankind should stop employing emblems as a means to understand his surrounding objects, such as those in nature. Perhaps these objects are not meant to be understood; rather, enjoyed and viewed as equals. Emerson asks, “Have mountains, and waves, and skies, no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ them as emblems of our thoughts?” (Language). This statement reminds me of our readings and discussions of Ponge in which he overanalyzes and examines bread. In the end, bread is bread, nature is nature, and mankind is mankind. In order for nature and man (and bread) to truly be in perfect harmony, they most coexist without a need of outdoing the other, as nature already clearly demonstrates.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
However, there were a few journal entries that were very different from the rest, such as the one from September 3rd, on page 69. In this entry, she goes into great details about a funeral she attended, including the number of people there, the food that was served, and the scenery around her. I wondered while I read it if she wrote so much about that specific event because it was so different from her usual routine. I also thought about the conversation we had during our first class, about death being so ordinary, in that it happens to us all, but it's also not ordinary in that we never think about it happening to us, until it happens to someone we know. When this happens, a lot of the time it seems like that's all we can think about, and I think that is what happened to Dorothy as she watched the corpse being buried.