Creating new traditions, and sticking with them, can transform ordinary events into deeply intentional ones.
On this day, National Earth Day, I decided to read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay “Nature” and to do so on every Earth Day moving forward.
This is was no easy feat, and so far, I only managed to get through half of it this time.
His work was always daunting for me, and almost impossible to get through the end.
Yet, I’ve noticed that my repeated, casual readings throughout the years have made his work easier for me to digest.
And more rewarding, because I can better understand what he is saying.
I recommend that you join me in reading his work, but if not, here are some of my favorite passages:
“The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth, becomes part of his daily food. In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”
“Standing on the bare ground, — my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, — all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
“Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man. “
“The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”
“I see the spectacle of morning from the hill-top over against my house, from day-break to sun-rise, with emotions which an angel might share. “
“The western clouds divided and subdivided themselves into pink flakes modulated with tints of unspeakable softness; and the air had so much life and sweetness, that it was a pain to come within doors.”
‘”‘The winds and waves,’ said Gibbon, ‘are always on the side of the ablest navigators.’ So are the sun and moon and all the stars of heaven. “