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The Point Of View
Nature is in herself a perpetual invitation : the birds call, the trees beckon and the winds whisper to us. After the unfeeling pavements, the yielding springy turf of the fields has a sympathy with the feet and invites us to walk.
Signs Of Spring
The approach of spring is felt, rather than reasoned about. There is that in us which rises to greet the incoming tide of the year before our eyes have apprised us of any change. Winter lies over the world much as ashes are banked on coals for the night, which nevertheless retain their heat and will be found alive and glowing in the morning.
Bird Life
Walking through bare fields in the chill and birdless world some winter days, it is brought home to us what an essential feature of our surroundings the birds are, what a lack there is when they are absent ! A certain poverty lies over the earth ; the sky is no longer complete without a swift or a martin. Birds are part of the landscape ; it is they which animate it.
Songs Of The Woods
We are drawn ever by the voices of birds. Even such as might be called monotonous and unmelodious are none the less significant and welcome. The fine lisping notes of warblers, as they industriously hunt for their food, seem expressive of the contentment of their minds. All over the hemlock swamp I hear the voices of black-throated green warblers.
Wild Gardens
Improvement easily becomes an affectation, from which all healthy natures suffer periodic reactions that take them to the mountains and the forest, to those primeval estates loved of wild bees, of the phoebe and the wren.
A strange analogy exists between plant life and some aspects of human life. The same stern necessity of the survival of the fittest physical in one, and in the other mental and spiritual seems to inhere in both. Among the weeds, competition is the dominant note, as it is in our world.
Insect Lore
Apis the bee, Vespa the wasp, and Arachne the spider these might properly figure in many a saga. Mighty are the works of the tribes of Apis, while Bombus the bumblebee befriends the pale flowers of the forest as do the winds the pine. Arachne beguiles the fly, for she is a very Medusa ; the solitary wasp slays the Gorgon and lays her in the tomb she has prepared.
Way Of The Ants
If you would see the ants to advantage to your own, that is you must turn over a pasture stone under which one of the species of small yellow ants has its nest. By thus gently removing the roof, if it is a good-sized stone, the whole colony will be in view at once. The red-ant hill presents difficulties.
Autumn Studies
Early in August we are surprised each year by the glowing leaves on the tupelo, a little patch of scarlet gleaming in the swamp, while the high blueberry is still in fruit and the silver-rod is making its appearance. By the time the wood-lilies have faded in the huckleberry pasture, the red bunchberries add their bit of color to the carpet on the edge of the swamp.
Pasture Stones
In New England pastures, the boulders are as much in harmony with their environment as any tree or shrub. They have the appearance of having grown here, quite as naturally as the bayberry and the sweet fern, and are kindred of the savin, and the low-spreading juniper which circles round them and hugs the stone like the lichen itself.
All wild animals are wary and suspicious, even when they do not prey upon one another. What friend has the rabbit, the chipmunk or the weasel? They lead friendless lives and die tragic deaths. Why should not a rabbit gossip with a woodchuck, for instance? One would think their common danger might draw them together, and that they might perhaps learn a little woodcraft one of the other.
Winter Woods
The first snow-storm of the season never becomes an old story. It retains its charm indefinitely, to all original minds at least, and to such as have cherished any degree of simplicity. Here is a mimic invasion of an elemental beauty which conquers us by reason of its very gentleness.
Laughing Waters
There are days when the sea is austere and unapproachable, when its mood is too lofty and severe. But the pond, fringed with alders and button-bushes, smiles in the sunshine and is friendly and inviting. It is more on the level of our everyday thought. Not always are we consoled by the vast and sublime, and we crave even more the companionable and social aspects of Nature.
The Mountains
He knew the mountains, who said, - I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help; - knew them in some intimate, spiritual way, for his words imply a noble association and companionship. Wordsworth understood them in this way, but not as the mountaineer knows them.
The Forest
Here is a forest primeval such as was never known east of the Cascade, not, at least, since that remote period when the sequoia flourished in Greenland. Man wanders, a mere pygmy, in a Brobdingnagian world of vast columnar trunks. This is the true home of the great conifers, the sequoia, silver fir, sugar-pine and Douglas spruce, the magnificent of the earth.
The Sea
The sea ever baffles description. It is a living thing, pulsating with energy, and, possessed of a subtle consciousness, elusive and full of moods changeable as woman and as incomprehensible. Now it is tender and appealing ; again distant and cold. Perhaps it is because of its essentially feminine traits that it so beguiles.
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