Who Does She Thinks She Is?

I am an old soul. It matters not my age nor my global position; my heart has made a connection with one of the literary greats and I seek to introduce a man that few bother to understand. Henry would probably see me as one of the sillies, caught up too much in the ridiculousness that is modern life, but I desire to take a page from his book and simplify, simplify, simplify!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let the Bells Ring and the Children Cry

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Those may be some of Henry David Thoreau's most familiar words. Like many passages fromWalden, they have become engrained in our minds, but have we let their true directive become engraved in our hearts, sending us out into our modern world with a renewed course, deliberate determination and stronger resolve?

What did Henry mean when he said he wanted to live deliberately? As I write this I cringe a little. Can you possibly imagine the millions of writing assignments given by harried teachers trying to offer a few Thoreau pearls to indifferent students? And can you imagine most of those dumbstruck students struggling to come up with the requisite paragraph about what it means to "live deliberately?"

But I digress.

Do I live deliberately, with purpose? Do I use my time and resources consciously, or do I allow myself to get carried away by the whims of society, not bothering to think much for myself?

"Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails."

That's the problem.  Every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails are what seem to trip me up and cause me to lose my deliberate focus.

Life is not perfect.  It comes with blips and bumps and challenges that threaten to throw us off the tracks of our best-laid plans. Instead of trying to learn from those challenges and carry on, I tend to view setbacks as catastrophic (when they are not), and feel defeated (when I am not).

Henry seemed to be able to keep these inconveniences in perspective.

"There was a dead horse in the hollow by the path to my house, which compelled me sometimes to go out of my way, especially in the night when the air was heavy, but the assurance it gave me of the strong appetite and inviolable health of Nature was my compensation for this....With the liability to accident, we must see how little account is to be made of it.  The impression made on a wise man is that of universal innocence.  Poison is not poisonous after all, nor are any wounds fatal."

Accidents will happen.  Inconveniences will arise. They will derail us only as we give them permission to.

"Let us rise early...; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry"—I, like Henry, am "determined to make a day of it."

Regardless of the dead horses.

No comments:

Post a Comment