No one compels you, traveler;
this road or that road, make your choice!
Dust or mud, heat or cold,
fellowship or solitude,
foul weather or a fairer sky,
the choice is yours as you go by.
But here if you would take this path
there is a gate whose latch is love,
whose key is single and which swings
upon the hinge of faithfulness,
and none can mock, who seeks this way,
the king we worship shamelessly.
If you would enter, traveler,
into this city fair and wide,
it is forever and you leave
all trappings of the self outside.
…..Jane Tyson Clement
One July afternoon at our ranch in the Canadian Rockies, I rode toward Helen Keller’s cabin. Along the wagon trail that ran through a lovely wood we had stretched a wire, to guide Helen when she walked there alone, and as I turned down the trail I saw her coming. I sat motionless while this woman, who was doomed to live forever in a black and silent prison, made her way briskly down the path, her face radiant. She stepped out of the woods into a sunlit open space directly in front of me and stopped by a clump of wolf willows. Gathering a handful, she breathed their strange fragrance: her sightless eyes looked up squarely into the sun, and her lips, so magically trained, pronounced the single word, ‘Beautiful!’ Then, still smiling, she walked past me. I brushed the tears from my own inadequate eyes. For to me, none of this exquisite highland had seemed beautiful. I had felt only bitter discouragement over the rejection of a piece of writing. I had eyes to see all the wonders of woods, sky, and mountains, ears to hear the rushing stream and the song of the wind in the treetops. It took the sightless eyes and sealed ears of this extraordinary woman to show me beauty and bravery……Frazier Hunt
a seemingly simple exchange of those who see and those who don’t…..of course we appreciate more when we don’t have, but what is missing here?….what’s missing here is the gift, the subtle gift of insight that comes from perception….not seeing…..feeling every stark remnant of experience….the idea that we really do live in a magnificent world…we are as free as our dreams….allowng life and love…..
Drinking coffee with honey in it and canned milk, smoking a pipe that had the sweetness pipes only have in cold quiet air. I felt good if a little scratchy-eyed, having gone to sleep the night before struck with the romance of stars and firelight, with the flaps open and only the blanket over me, to wake at two-thirty chilled through. On top of the food box, alligator-skin corrugations of frost had formed, and with the first touch of the sun the willows began to whisper as frozen leaves loosed their hold and fell side-slipping down through the others that were still green. Titmice called and flickers and a redbird, and for a moment, on a twig four feet from my face, a chittering kinglet jumped around alternately hiding and flashing the scarlet of its crown… I sat and listened and watched while the world woke up, and drank three cups of the syrupy coffee, better I thought than any I’d ever tasted, and smoked the pipes. You run the risk of thinking yourself an ascetic while you enjoy, with that intensity, the austere facts of fire and coffee and tobacco and the sound and feel of country places. You aren’t though. In a way you’re more of a sensualist than a fat man washing down sauerbraten and dumplings with heavy beer while a German band plays and a plump blonde kneads his thigh….You’ve shucked off the gross delights, and those you have left are few, sharp, and strong. But they’re sensory. Even Thoreau, if I remember right a passage or so on his cornbread, was guilty, though mainly he was a real ascetic……John Graves