I have been reading a gift book from Jeff and Jan on The Sea Ranch. I am caught in the beauty of that place, the homes that integrate inside and out, shadow and sun, and utilize interior space extremely well.
I am also re-reading The Wild Braid by Stanley Kunitz, his ruminations as he approached the age of 100.
When I was a child I haunted the woods. The two essential components of my imagination were my fascination with the natural world and with language.
I loved especially the sounds of words. We were fortunate in our house to have an unabridged dictionary. I explored it every day for new words and then I would go out into the woods behind our house and shout my latest discovery and listen to it reverberate. I considered it my duty to give my new words to the elements, to scatter them. The woods were the perfect audience.
I yearned to be lost in another atmosphere, and in history itself, as these woods had the virtue of being one of the encampments of Massassoit's tribe so I looked out for traces of them. Otherwise, I had no human company, but there were wild animals who soon learned that I was no there to harm them and so I felt I was in a world of friends.
"unburdened by a body"
During my adolescence, out in the open fields, I would sometimes pretend I was one of the insects. I became captivated by dragonflies and imagined I could see the world as they did. Everything had a different scale.
I reveled in the sensation of being so light and being able to go anywhere, unburdened by a body.
Discovering the body was part of the joy, the sense of infinite possibility, of being out in the woods. I recognized that it had weight and had certain limitations - there was no denying that. Obviously one's sensitivity was less acute than that of any other living creature in the woods. At the same time, the body was the very instrument of exploration.
I would find a leaf or a stone in the underbrush and have the sensation that nobody else had seen quite the same thing. And if I came across an arrowhead, that was a real triumph.
Sometimes, especially when one gets older, one gets very clumsy in the handling of delicate objects. The hands, the fingers, are less nimble than they were. But then, there's the compensation that one knows a bit more. There's a quid pro quo.
In the woods, one loses the sense of time. It's quite a different experience from walking in the streets. The streets are human creations. In the woods what one finds are cosmic creations.
from "The Round" by Stanley Kunitz
I can scarcely wait until tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.
Breathe in the wisdom of years!