2 October 2009

Nature and Mist

Saturday 3rd October 2009

Saturday morning arrives like a fresh breeze. I take off early for a walk in the hills before work. I’m halfway up the first mountain path when the mist creeps in.
Mist is mystical.
A long forgotten book I read many years ago emerged from my inner archives: ‘The Mists of Avalon’ by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Its a mythical tale about the Knights of the Round Table, Glastonbury, Sir Lancelot, Queen Guinevere etc… but a tale told through the eyes of a woman. When the veil of mist came, Priestess Morgaine would pierce it and pass through to the mystical Avalon.
'There was a time when a traveller, if he had the will and knew only a few of the secrets, could send his barge out into the Summer Sea and arrive not at Glastonbury of the monks, but at the Holy Isle of Avalon; for at that time the gates between worlds drifted within the mists, and were open, one to another, as the traveller thought and willed."

I’m halfway up the first mountain looking down over the valley shrouded in mist. It’s beautiful, another world lies beyond, a world I can’t quite see, a veil I can’t quite pierce.

Surrounded and immersed in Nature I feel whole again. The mountains and valleys, the bush, the forest, the wilderness, the ocean, the wind, the wildlife roaming free, all inspire me with new life and creativity and a glowing serenity.

I shall hereby confess: at night I sleep with my dog, an animal companion next to my body. She curls up into my belly instinctively as if we were the only two creatures left on earth, sheltering and protecting each other from danger. Civilized people would frown on me, a dog in the bed is considered unclean, but I love nothing more than debunking civilized thinking and flying in the face of convention if it is based on unnatural perception.
(A quick google search brought up only how bad this habit is - something to do with establishing hierarchy)
Deep down we are all as wild and as beautiful as our fellow pack animals who co-habit this planet.

Last night, snuggled up with the dog, I began reading about the life and philosophy of Henry Thoreau, a name I recognised from some famous quotes I’d kept, but a name that had no meaning or person or context attached to it – that is until I read Waldon recently.
Thoreau is fast becoming my soul mate, speaking to me through the misty veils of time.
He was a quiet anarchist, a writer, a Nature lover, a transcendentalist, a man who meditated and practiced what he preached.

The book is a collection of critical essays about Thoreau the man and his writings. It contains some real literary gems and insights. Here are a couple that I have bookmarked so far:

“(he) looked with the aloofness of an immortal upon the world out of which he had grown like a resinous and vibrant little hemlock, solitary and disdainful among the ephemeridae of an April meadow. For Thoreau, whose imagination never compassed the gelatinous mass of human kind, society meant nothing but the infringement of the individual.”
(my hero)

“…the book (Walden) is essentially dynamic rather than static, a movement FROM something TO something, rather than simply reporting of an experience.”
(I’d like to think of my blog in this new light)

Thoreau’s style of writing is painted viscerally in this description (by Stanley Edgar Hyman in the essay entitled “Henry Thoreau in Our Time”):
“…demanding sentences that are concentrated and nutty, that suggest far more than they say, that are kinked and knotted into something hard and significant, to be swallowed like a diamond with out digesting. Sentences which are expensive, towards which so many volumes, so much life, went; which lie like boulders on the page, up and down or across; which contain the seed of other sentences, not mere repetition, but creation; which man might sell his grounds and castles to build.”
Only a writer could describe writing like that!

I shall read further tonight (after my yoga practice). The next essay awaits to transport me telepathically to my twin soul. And I'll be scouring the libraries next week for more of Thoreau's actual writings.

Meanwhile some of his 'concentrated and nutty' quotes are published here.

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