A Letter to the Readers—
I had been teaching for five years in the MFA program at Emerson College (named for its founder Charles Wesley Emerson, distant cousin to Ralph Waldo) before I saw my way to offering a course in Transcendentalism. Although I’d spent two decades researching the lives of the Peabody sisters, three women who were intimately connected with the movement, and another six years on Margaret Fuller, I didn’t feel prepared. I could not quote Emerson chapter and verse, and Thoreau had been only an ancillary character in my narratives of Transcendentalist women–leading Sophia Hawthorne on a tour of an Indian encampment on the banks of the Concord River near the Old Manse, searching for Margaret Fuller’s lost manuscript at Fire Island after her tragic drowning in a shipwreck.
The air fills me from within, the bitter salt firing in my lungs. The waves crashed upon the white sands of this remote beach, and I opened my eyes, fluttering their lashes in the too-bright sun. As I adjusted, I made out the breakers on the horizon, the oddly cool sand against my prone limbs, its fine powder molding to my form. I lifted my head from the beach, bending my neck to look through my feet from the sapphire cloudless sky to the cobalt sea.
In the Interest of Encouraging Engagement with the Natural World
As a passenger entering the city from my small hometown in New Hampshire, I absorb the view of the urban night. On my rides down I-93, I imagine people of yesteryear riding into Boston on horseback through dense wilderness on ground a-hyperbolic-half-mile below the black top of the highway.
In a midnight walk through the Back Bay Fens,
I suddenly find myself in a Passive Area:
No Ball Playing, Games or Sports.
From Orphic Sayings
The internal map shall guide you towards that which is just. Never rely on another’s word on how to refrain from atrocious behavior. For if you are to follow the inner voice of another, you forget the perfected aegis of personal shame. Run not from the strong urgings of that tiny voice inside your mind or heart, chase instead; seize it and throttle it until it tells you what to do.