We’re a Bunch of Beauties – Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping-Beauty-1Here’s Henry Thoreau writing way back in the 1840s with some good thoughts for us all today:

“If you have built castles in the air your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

So he clearly believes that we should dream; that we should build those castles in the air,

Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t, I take his meaning to be.

And he goes on:

“Why level downward toward the dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense? The commonest sense is the sense of men asleep, which they express by snoring.”

He must have been a great teacher when he turned his hand to that fine art, together with his brother John founding a grammar school called Concord Academy, long before the famous prep school by that name was founded. He must have lit up the classroom with witty pithy bits of like that.

I bet he was kind to his pupils always.

But for sure he’s no fan of those who hardly know they’re alive, which let’s face it is most of us, most of the time.

Plus were always complaining. As Henry puts it, “Some would find fault with the morning red, if they ever got up early enough.”

Like his friend Emerson, Thoreau believed that the present is what matters. “All we have is this day, as my friend Gwen said yesterday in a comment on an earlier post of mine

I like the way Henry puts it too:

“The learned societies and great men of Assyria” he says. “Where are they now? What youthful philosophers and experimentalists we are! There is not one of my readers who has yet lived a whole human life!”

True enough. Now we see through a glass, darkly, as that famous letter-writer put it to his little band of pals in Corinth, but then one day face to face. And  who knows what glories we will look upon then?

Beauty All Around Me

Even after being up all night on a red-eye a week ago, when every other single soul on the plane was asleep,  including probably the captain and co-captain, I have to admit: it was stunning to fly west with the night and see the Sierra Nevadas from 35,000 feet just at sunset.

It was more than thrilling to have seen the Arizona desert a few days before.

They call it the Sonoran desert. Its saguaro cactuses, some of whom seem to be doing the Walk-Like-an-Egyptian dance, live for 200 years.

cactus laughing

None of us will reach 200. We can’t hope to.

The most we can hope for is the occasional glimpse like this, of a landmass that looks made up of the mounded backs, the living vertebrae of large unknowable creatures.

like a living spine

But WHAT creatures, you think, on whom so many life-forms ride?’ And who is the even larger Creature upon Whose back WE ride?

Paul said it: We see through a glass now, only darkly and know only in part, but one day face to face.

May it be so! May it one day prove to be so.