I am so in awe of Emerson that trying to write about him is a little daunting. Initially I found his frequent contradictions and exuberant comma usage frustrating (actually I still find the commas frustrating), but when I stopped trying to read him like an academic and finally tried to feel what he was saying, I realized the trouble was that I was, in fact, "disunited with [my]self" (I am trying to be clever, please leave me alone). I realized this particularly in "Prospects": "Every surmise and vaticination of the mind is entitled to a certain respect, and we learn to prefer imperfect theories, and sentences, which contain glimpses of truth, to digested systems which have no one valuable suggestion. A wise writer will feel that the ends of study and composition are best answered by announcing undiscovered regions of thought, and so communication, through hope, new activity to the torpid spirit" (on a side note, Oh how my torpid spirit awakened upon discovering the word 'vaticination'). So effective was the performativity of Emerson's writing that I wondered if he and Heidegger were BFFs, but after some research I learned that Heidegger was born after Emerson died, and thus the world's greatest friendship could never come to pass. Really, though, I found that more than being able to take any reductive or conclusive statement about nature away from "Nature," I was left with, more than anything, an inclination to go outside and look around. And I think that's what Emerson was trying to do-- at least I hope, because otherwise I just spent a lot of time misinterpreting him-- and while I struggled to accept that at first, this essay really resists an analytical reading; by the time I read "the leafless trees become spires of flame in the sunset," I decided to stop struggling.
I have a hundred more things to say about Emerson, but I think I'll save them for class.