Pedro Figari - El gaucho Candioti. In his essay, “Circles,” Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th-century American lecturer, poet, and philosopher, wrote: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” that is to say, without intense, eager, enjoyment or passion. Enthusiasm is unplanned. Indeed, one can’t plan for it. But it is an always-welcome guest in our lives. … Continue reading A Strongly-Marked Picture
Plate 106 Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, John James Audubon. In Chapter 3 of The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin describes his work identifying the carrion-feeding hawks of South America. He writes the following about two of them—Carranchas and Chimangos. These false eagles most rarely kill any living bird or animal; and their vulture-like, … Continue reading A Token for His Protection
A Bank of Quaresma and Trumpet Trees, Brazil. Marianne North, Date: 1873. This past weekend, I visited, for the first time, a tropical rainforest, one near San Salvador, Brazil. I had the absolute best of guides, a young Englishman, only twenty-three years old. His enthusiasm about nature was infectious. I was in the company of … Continue reading In a Tropical Rainforest
Ophelia, John Everett Millais, 1852. I was eleven years old when my mother enrolled me in the Boy Scouts of America. There was a Troop at my elementary school, and eleven was the minimum age to become a Tenderfoot Scout, the beginning rank in the Scouts at the time I joined. I don’t recall asking … Continue reading The Readiness Is All
Portrait of Russian poet Konstantin Batyushkov, 1815, by Nikolai Utkin. Do you believe in ghosts, shades, spirits? Do you think you have a soul that will survive the death of your body; or is your body all there is? What evidence would you have? This morning, as every morning, in the gray light of early … Continue reading What Evidence Would You Have?
Birch grove, Isaac Levitan, 1889. Many times, so it seems to me, we feel as if our generation was the first one to become aware of a problem or attempt to solve it. I’ve found this not to be true so many times that I’ve become skeptical of such claims. Below is an excerpt from … Continue reading Trembling Under the Blows