Friday, January 1, 2010

LOVELY IS THE WORLD, part 1 of 3; by Hattie A. Pike (1917)

"Would you like to know the secret of happiness?--a secret no merchant prince was ever rich enough to purchase? I will tell you: the secret of happiness is the appreciation of the beautiful in nature--the appreciation of God's unwritten poetry." Joaquin Miller

I once listened to a talk by the artist and true lover of nature, Henry Bailey Turner, on the beauty of the common things of life, the weeds and the storm-buffeted seed vessels. Quickly and truthfully he drew them on the blackboard and pointed out their picturesqueness and elegance of form. We were charmed by the speaker and delighted with the beauty which for the first time, was revealed to us.

The world is starving for this waiting inheritance but, being blind, gropes and is unable to find it.

I have always lived much in the open. My earliest recollection stretches back to the time when I was a mite of a girl munching hot buttered biscuit in the orchard watching the oxen at their noon baiting. Overhead were low bending boughs of purple Blue-pearmains, at my feet lay yellow, mellow August Sweetings cracked by their own rich weight and overmealiness.

Thru all the years this day, with its misty clover-scented air, its songs of birds and droning insect sounds, has been one of my sweetest memories.

Later there were fishing trips and all sorts of jaunts with a big brother. To him alone, who always bothered himself with a little seven-year-old, I owe my great love for all outdoors--and incidentally my perfect health.

As I look back to my girl friends of those days, whose big brothers did not take the bother and who never acquired the love for nature, I find, with one exception, they were subject to all manner of ills, headaches, heartaches, dyspepsia and nerves.

This one exception was left with a farm, eight small children and sorrow enough to swamp a dozen women. To keep soul and body together, she was obliged to take charge of the farm herself, doing a good share of outdoor work. She not only made a living for her large brood but became one of the healthiest and most contented women I ever knew. Thus her heritage came to her.

Years after, going back to the same little neighborhood, I said to one whose home was on the side of a mountain, with sunsets and the distant White Mountains spread before him, "I had forgotten this view was so wonderful."

"We don't mind it," said he, "we see it every day."

I am wondering whether if he had learned to "mind it," would he have brought upon his home the domestic tragedy which has darkened and almost ruined several lives?