Sunday, November 07, 2010
Stopped In My Tracks
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) famously wrote observations of life while living next to a pond. There is no pond near my current home in Santa Fe, but there are beautiful views, it is clean, quiet, and spacious enough, and I am in a good part of town, near the art galleries. I do not have Walden Pond, but just a short walk down a hill from my house is the Santa Fe River. “River” is a misnomer, because usually there is only a trickling stream of water that runs from a reservoir at the base of the mountains nestled by the city. Stone walls have been built alongside it in the event of an unlikely flood, but for much of the way, it is easy to walk by the stream and hop across with a couple jumps over rocks. Intermittent paths allow people to hike and enjoy the ecosystem.
While in my new home only a few days, life along the river has already captured me. I have not been able to resist taking long moments to look at the dazzling display of fall color occurring now. Especially the old cottonwood trees with their thick, gnarly trunks that twist upward and lift big branches full with displays of golden leaves.
During early morning and late afternoon, sunlight slants obliquely through the garnished trees, and I have been stopped in my tracks to be gathered into the sublime scenery. Leaving the street to clamber down embankments, I pause beside the stream and occasionally hear cars pass by, or see someone through the thickets. When a breeze blows, yellow-sheened leaves are shaken loose and drift lazily to earth, rustling as they brush against limbs and brambles and finally come to rest. Include the gurgling of a brook, bird songs, far-off dog barks and children’s laughter, the smell of water and freshly rotting leaves, dappled light and invigorating fluctuations of warm and cool temperatures in the sun or shade—and then I understand why Thoreau was inspired to write his book about the poetry of a pond.
"Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something. "
Henry David Thoreau