Saturday, February 21, 2015

John Burroughs on Walking

"We are unwilling walkers.  We are not innocent and simple hearted enough to enjoy a walk.  We have fallen from that state of grace which capacity to enjoy a walk implies.  It cannot be said that as a people we are so positively sad or morose or melancholic as that we are vacant of that sportiveness and surplussage of animal spirits that characterized our ancestors, and that springs from full and harmonious life - a sound heart in accord with a sound body.  A man must invest himself near at hand and in common things, and be content with a steady and moderate return, if he would know the blessedness of a cheerful heart and the sweetness of a walk over the round earth.  This is a lesson the American has yet to learn - capability of amusement on a low key.  He expects rapid and extraordinary returns.  He would make the very elemental laws pay usury.  He has nothing to invest in a walk;  it is too slow, too cheap.  We crave the astonishing, the exciting, the far away, and do not know the highways of the gods when we see them - always a sign of the decay of the faith and simplicity of man."

from:  John Burroughs' America

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where my mind is these days

I was driving to a nearby mall to make some necessary purchases but my mind was addressing the use of the phrase 'moral equivalence.'   Too often I find it seems to mean that our killers are not as evil as someone else's killers.
I parked the car, got out, and stood by the trunk.  I turned my shopping list over and made some notes with a pencil stub I carry with me.  Since when does morality require a test of validity?  Is there a registry of values to be applied to  morality?  And if there is...#*&+!

Suddenly a beetle the size of a penny landed  on the tiny paper list I was using.  Impatiently, I flicked it away with a finger.  Instantly I felt remorse.  What if, I thought, that beetle came with a message for me, for my thought.   What made it land on that little paper scrap at the point of my pencil?   What have I done?

Yes, this is a fair description of my daily confusion.  Trying to navigate between old age and living in a culture extremely different from the one I was formed by.  A ceaseless  grasping for mental handholds.