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COLORS — A CONTRAST

Such a play of colors and lights, different seasons, different hours of the day the lines of the far horizon where the faint-tinged edge of the landscape loses itself in the sky. As I slowly hobble up the lane toward day-close, an incomparable sunset shooting in molten sapphire and gold, shaft after shaft, through the ranks of the long-leaved corn, between me and the west. Another day. The rich dark green of the tulip-trees and the oaks, the gray of the swamp-willows, the dull hues of the sycamores and black-walnuts, the emerald of the cedars (after rain,) and the light yellow of the beeches. A WINTER DAY ON THE SEA-BEACH

The attractions, fascinations there are in sea and shore ! How one dwells on their simplicity, even vacuity! What is it in us, arous’d by those indirections and directions ? That spread of waves and gray-white beach, salt, monotonous, senseless — such an entire absence of art, books, talk, elegance — so indescribably comforting, even this winter day — grim, yet so delicate-looking, so spiritual — striking emotional, impalpable depths, subtler than all the poems, paintings, music, I have ever read, seen, heard. (Yet let me be fair, perhaps it is because I have read those poems and heard that music.) ONE OF THE HUMAN KINKS

How is it that in all the serenity and lonesomeness of solitude, away off here amid the hush of the forest, alone, or as I have found in prairie wilds, or mountain stillness, one is never entirely without the instinct of looking around, (I never am, and others tell me the same of themselves, confidentially,) for somebody to appear, or start up out of the earth, or from behind some tree or rock? Is it a lingering, inherited remains of man's primitive wariness, from the wild animals ? or from his savage ancestry far back? It is not at all nervousness or fear. Seems as if something unknown were possibly lurking in those bushes, or solitary places. Nay, it is quite certain there is some vital unseen presence.

AN AFTERNOON SCENE

Feb. 22.-Last night and to-day rainy and thick, till mid-afternoon, when the wind chopp'd round, the clouds swiftly drew off like curtains, the clear appear'd, and with it the fairest, grandest, most wondrous rainbow I ever saw, all complete, very vivid at its earth-ends, spreading vast effusions of illuminated haze, violet, yellow, drab-green, in all directions overhead, through which the sun beam'dan indescribable utterance of color and light, so gorgeous yet so soft, such as I had never witness'd before. Then its continuance: a full hour pass'd before the last of those earth-ends disappear'd. The sky behind was all spread in translucent blue, with many little white clouds and edges. To these a sunset, filling, dominating the esthetic and soul senses, sumptuously, tenderly, full. I end this note by the pond, just light enough to see, through the evening shadows, the western reflections in its water-mirror surface, with inverted figures of trees. I hear now and then the flup of a pike leaping out, and rippling the water. THE COMMON EARTH, THE SOIL

The soil, too — let others pen-and-ink the sea, the air, (as I sometimes try) — but now I feel to choose the common soil for theme — naught else. The brown soil here, (just between winter-close and opening spring and vegetation) — the rain-shower at night, and the fresh smell next morning — the red worms wriggling out of the ground — the dead leaves, the incipient grass, and the latent life underneath — the effort to start something - already in shelter'd spots some little Aowers the distant emerald show of winter wheat and the rye-fields — the yet naked trees, with clear insterstices, giving prospects hidden in summer - the tough fallow and the plow-team, and the stout boy whistling to his horses for

encouragement

and there the dark fat earth in long slanting stripes upturn’d. FULL-STARR’D NIGHTS

May 21.- Back in Camden. Again commencing one of those unusually transparent, full-starr’d, blue-black nights, as if to show that however lush and pompous the day may

be, there is something left in the not-day that can outvie it. The rarest, finest sample of long-drawn-out clear-obscure, from sundown to 9 o'clock. I went down to the Delaware, and cross’d and cross'd. Venus like blazing silver well

up

in the west. The large pale thin crescent of the new moon, half an hour high, sinking languidly under a bar-sinister of cloud, and then emerging. Arcturus right overhead. A faint fragrant sea-odor wafted up from the south. The gloaming, the temper'd coolness, with every feature of the scene, indescribably soothing and tonic — one of those hours that give hints to the soul, impossible to put in a statement. (Ah, where would be any food for spirituality without night and the stars ?) The vacant spaciousness of the air, and the veild blue of the heavens, seem'd miracles enough. As the night advanc'd it changed its spirit and garments to ampler stateliness. I was almost conscious of a definite presence, Nature silently near. The great constellation of the Water-Serpent stretch'd its coils over more than half the heavens. The Swan with outspread wings was Aying down the Milky Way. The northern Crown, the Eagle, Lyra, all up there in their places. From the whole dome shot down points of light, rapport with me, through the clear blue-black. All the usual sense of motion, all animal life, seem'd discarded, seem’d a fiction; a curious power, like the placid rest of Egyptian gods, took possession, none the less potent for being impalpable. Earlier I had seen many bats, balancing in the luminous twilight, darting their black forms hither and yon over the river; but now they altogether disappear'd. The evening star and the moon had gone. Alertness and peace lay calmly couching together through the fluid universal shadows. MULLEINS AND MULLEINS

Large, placid mulleins, as summer advances, velvety in texture, of a light greenish-drab color, growing everywhere in the fields - at first earth's big rosettes in their broadleav'd low cluster-plants, eight, ten, twenty leaves to a plant - plentiful on the fallow twenty-acre lot, at the end of the

sane

lane, and especially by the ridge-sides of the fences — then close to the ground, but soon springing up — leaves as broad as my hand, and the lower ones twice as long — so fresh and dewy in the morning — stalks now four or five, even seven or eight feet high. The farmers, I find, think the mullein a mean unworthy weed, but I have grown to a fondness for it. Every object has its lesson, enclosing the suggestion of everything else — and lately I sometimes think all is consecrated for me in these hardy, yellowAower'd weeds. As I come down the lane early in the morning, I pause before their soft wool-like Aeece and stem and broad leaves, glittering with countless diamonds. Annually for three summers now, they and I have silently return'd together; at such long intervals I stand or sit among them, musing — and woven with the rest, of so many hours and moods of partial rehabilitation — of my

or sick spirit, here as near at peace as it can be. A SUN-BATH — NAKEDNESS

Sunday, Aug. 27.— Another day quite free from mark'd prostration and pain. It seems indeed as if peace and nutriment from heaven subtly filter into me as I slowly hobble down these country lanes and across fields, in the good air as I sit here in solitude with Nature open, voiceless, mystic, far removed, yet palpable, eloquent Nature. I merge myself in the scene, in the perfect day. Hovering over the clear brook-water, I am soothed by its soft gurgle in one place, and the hoarser murmurs of its three-foot fall in another. Come, ye disconsolate, in whom any latent eligibility is left — come get the sure virtues of creek-shore, and wood and field. Two months (July and August, '77,) have I absorb’d them, and they begin to make a new man of me. Every day, seclusion every day at least two or three hours of freedom, bathing, no talk, no bonds, no dress, no books, no manners. Shall I tell you, reader, to what I attribute my already much-restored health ? That I have been almost two years, off and on, without drugs and medicines, and daily in the open air. Last summer I found a particularly se

summer.

cluded little dell off one side by my creek, originally a large dug-out marl-pit, now abandon'd, fill'd, with bushes, trees, grass, a group of willows, a straggling bank, and a spring of delicious water running right through the middle of it, with two or three little cascades. Here I retreated every hot day, and follow it

up
this

Here I realize the meaning of that old fellow who said he was seldom less alone than when alone. Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me. By old habit, I pencilld down from time to time, almost automatically, moods, sights, hours, tints and outlines, on the spot. Let me specially record the satisfaction of this current forenoon, so serene and primitive, so conventionally exceptional, natural. An hour or so after breakfast I wended my way down to the recesses of the aforesaid dell, which I and certain thrushes, cat-birds, &c., had all to ourselves. A light south-west wind was blowing through the tree-tops. It was just the place and time for my Adamic air-bath and Aesh-brushing from head to foot. So hanging clothes on a rail near by, keeping old broadbrim straw on head and easy shoes on feet, haven't I had a good time the last two hours ! First with the stiff-elastic bristles rasping arms, breast, sides, till they turn’d scarlet — then partially bathing in the clear waters of the running brook - taking everything very leisurely, with many rests and pauses — stepping about barefooted

few minutes now and then in some neighboring black ooze, for unctuous mud-bath to my feet - a brief second and third rinsing in the crystal running waters — rubbing with the fragrant towel — slow negligent promenades on the turf up and down in the sun, varied with occasional rests, and further frictions of the bristle-brush — sometimes carrying my portable chair with me from place to place, as my range is quite extensive here, nearly a hundred rods, feeling quite secure from intrusion, (and that indeed I am not at all nervous about, if it accidentally happens.) As I walk'd slowly over the grass, the sun shone out

every

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