Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Think me not unkind and rude
That I walk alone in grove and glen;
I go to the god of the wood
To fetch his word to men.
Tax not my sloth that I
Fold my arms beside the brook;
Each cloud that floated in the sky
Writes a letter in my book.
Chide me not, laborious band,
For the idle flowers I brought;
Every aster in my hand,
Goes home loaded with a thought.
There was never mystery
Bu’t is figured in the flowers;
Was never secret history
But birds tell it in the bowers.
One harvest from thy field
Homeward brought the oxen strong;
A second crop thine acres yield
Which I gather in a song.
Emerson understands that a creator, an artist, is necessarily bound to walk with nature and daydream. We simply cannot function without the secrets we find tucked away and disguised. They are our inspiration. We don’t work the same way that others work, but please don’t hold that against us. We are each twice blessed with a physical harvest from your work and the soulful harvest from our work!
Kahlil Gibran put his own twist on the idea a few decades later while discussing Buying and Selling in “The Prophet.”
And suffer not the barren-handed to take part in your transactions, who would sell their words for your labour.
To such men you should say,
“Come with us to the field, or go with our brothers to the sea and cast your net;
For the land and the sea shall be bountiful to you even as to us.”
And if there come the singers and the dancers and the flute players, – buy their gifts also.
For they too are gatherers of fruit and frankincense, and that which they bring, though fashioned of dreams, is raiment and food for your soul.
We artists are as much worker as any who would toil with their body instead. Ours is a soulful work, full of investment and bleeding and daydreaming in order that we can share a second harvest – one of imagination, thoughtfulness, and beauty. In our world today, it feels as though we sometimes have to fight to carve out the ability to dream, but that’s okay. This place is better off for all our efforts, I am certain of it.
Oh! And Thanks! I’ve just reached one hundred followers.
Heads in the clouds kids…
*photo is my own, taken recently in one of my favorite local hiking areas.