Of the Earth.

My favorite piece of literature is Emerson’s Nature essay. My copy is bent, torn, dog eared and covered in illegible notes. I keep it with me at all times, read it for pleasure and for inspiration. His words have reached a deep layer within my soul that most other writing has failed to touch. When I wander, this is what I think.

“The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship.”

“Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobler’s trade; a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line and point for point, your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.”

“The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.”
“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.”
“A man is a god in ruins.When men are innocent,life shall be longer and shall pass into the immortal, as gently as we awake from dreams.”
All of these words were written in 1836, around the beginnings of photography. This interests me. The transcendentalist mind, they way it views the world and how, me, a contemporary photographer can pull so much inspiration from these truths.
My mother and I went hiking two weekends ago, around Hocking Hills, a sacred place in both of our souls. It was a warm autumn’s day with a soft, cool breeze. We drank sweet tea and ate peanut butter M&Ms. I took photographs of the earth while she looked up towards the sky. In editing through these images today, I was reminded of Emerson, his idea of being a god in ruins. I love that, this idea that we were created in the image of a supreme being, that an almighty power lives somewhere deep within us all, but we fall so short of ever reaching it everyday. We have so much potential, but we are not perfect. We are flawed beings, and therefor, we are interesting creatures.


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