an amazing puzzle

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The universe is a more amazing puzzle than ever, as you glance along this bewildering series of animated forms, – the hazy butterflies, the carved shells, the birds, beasts, fishes, snakes, and the upheaving principle of life everywhere incipient, in the very rock aping organized forms. Not a form so grotesque, so savage, nor so beautiful but is an expression of some property inherent in man the observer, — an occult relation between the very scorpions and man. I feel the centipede in me, — cayman, carp, eagle, and fox. I am moved by strange sympathies; I say continually, “I will be a naturalist.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

15 thoughts on “an amazing puzzle”

    1. Jeff, I read somewhere that both Emerson and Thoreau were regular readers of the Upanishads and appreciated the ideas of unity that they found there. Connections and unity everywhere!

    1. Yes! But I have a feeling I would be doing more listening than contributing to the conversation! One reason I’ve always loved books – the messages, wisdom and guidance found in them are there to peruse whenever needed, even after the one who wrote the words is long gone.

  1. Hi Barbara,
    Yes a great American Philosopher, I believe that he worked his way through school doing odd jobs, not much different than some have to do today really. He certainly knew how to express his feeling, a wonderful poet as well.

    1. That’s interesting, Magsx2. I have to admit I don’t know much about Emerson’s life – perhaps when I finish reading Dickinson’s biography I’ll start reading one of Emerson’s.

      I have been to the Concord School of Philosophy building, where he lectured a few times, on the grounds of Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. I think I could spend several days exploring all the historical treasures in Concord.

  2. Barbara, I think you were so astute to quote Emerson. He knows his stuff! What a puzzle the Universe is, indeed. Feeling the centipede and the worm and the Barbara and the Jeff and the Laurie and the computer in me~~and, oh, by the way, guess what? I did a Barbara-blog today! Can you guess what it’s made of?

  3. I agree with Cait – the “strange sympathies” is wonderful coming as it does after “I feel the centipede in me, – cayman, carp, eagle, and fox.” Those lines remind me of a remarkable book called The Peregrine, by J.A. Baker, an author who spends a winter in the 1960s tracking and following the raptors across the fields and marshes of eastern England, always alone. It is a haunting and enraptured journey, in which in essence the man becomes the birds. What separates us is no longer so easily distinguishable.

    1. “The Peregrine” sounds like a wonderful book. I am fascinated by people who have the courage to go out and explore the natural world alone for more than a day. They are richly rewarded for their efforts, and it’s a blessing so many of them are willing to share their insights and experiences with us less adventurous souls. The book is not published on Kindle yet so I put in a request to the publisher to have it done, and will be notified if it happens. As always, thanks for stopping by and for the book recommendation, Julian!

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