August 15, 2018

“You Shall Make Me Feel What Periods You Have Lived”


On Sunday evening on my way home from a birthday celebration where I drank very good Lambrusco and waited for but never received a tarot reading, I came upon this sign affixed to a tree. Each of the quotes pertains to nature, which I thought showed an impressive perspicacity on behalf of the (I’m assuming) child or children who conceived of the idea. Narrowing the focus of the wide world of inspirational aphorisms and sage admonishments to one central and timely (the sky filled with smoke) theme showed a precocious knack for branding. I chose the Emerson quote, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”

Out of context, these words are motivational: “Plant the seed of your skills and talent now, and who knows what legacy you’ll leave behind?” Within the context of Emerson’s essay “History,” they mean something…more. The thousand forests represent all of history, and the acorn represents one individual’s mind. For Emerson, this universality is, well, universal, as he repeats the pattern throughout: “(A) poet makes twenty fables with one moral,” and “Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws,” and, et cetera.

He finishes the essay with a sort of call to action: “Broader and deeper we must write our annals, — from an ethical reformation, from an influx of the ever new, ever sanative conscience, — if we would trulier express our central and wide-related nature, instead of this old chronology of selfishness and pride to which we have too long lent our eyes.”

Afterward, I stopped in the cemetery and took photos of the anemones, the cosmos, the dahlias and–framed by a Douglas fir and larch–the fiery setting sun.