Saturday, February 2, 2013

winter all around


Winter is all around us today.  Everywhere we look, and immediately upon us when we step outside.  We are winter today!

The Outermost House by Henry Beston is a wonderful book.  From Autumn 1927 to Autumn 1928 Beston lived in his two-room cottage on Cape Cod and wrote about Nature around him.  The dunes, beach, the sun and moon and stars, the birds, the movements of the sea:  all are characters, the formers of the drama in his book.  There is very little about humans or about himself.  Here is some of his writing.  Look how carefully he pauses at the end of this passage, in memory and gratitude, and then resumes.  Isn't it Nature here that he has become even as much as he is a man writing about Nature?

Nb."the Hunter" is Orion, in the sky

    My year upon the beach had come full circle; it was time to close my door.  Seeing the great suns, I thought of the last time I marked them in the spring, in the April west above the moors, dying into the light and sinking.  I saw them of old above the iron waves of black December, sparkling afar.  Now, once again, the Hunter rose to drive summer south before him, once again autumn followed on his steps.  I had seen the ritual of the sun; I had shared the elemental world.  Wraiths of memories began to take shape.  I saw the sleet of the great storm slanting down again into the grass under the thin seepage of moon, the blue-white spill of an immense billow on the outer bar, the swans in the high October sky, the sunset madness and splendour of the year's terns over the dunes, the clouds of beach birds arriving, the eagle solitary in the blue.  And because I had known this outer and secret world, and been able to live as I had lived, reverence and gratitude greater and deeper than ever possessed me, sweeping every emotion else aside, and space and silence an instant closed together over life.  Then time gathered again like a cloud, and presently the stars began to pale over an ocean still dark with remembered night.

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