Friday, August 19, 2011
Joseph Wood Krutch: more from Baja California
Once again Joseph Wood Krutch opposes the more traditional attitude and, I must admit, makes some interesting points while doing so.
Too long a view in either time or space makes people miss a great deal that is close at hand, and it is my experience that those who are quickly bored in the country are usually those who lack "the microscopic eye," those to whom "nature" means only "scenery," and "scenery" means only "views." Charles Lamb once declared that he would not much care if he never saw another mountain, and, while I would not by any means go so far, I think I know what he meant. To know nature only that way is like knowing a city only by its skyline. To feel the life of either city or country, one must be actually in it, aware of the excitement and variety of individual lives. People are often blamed because they cannot see the wood for the trees, but that does not seem to me so bad as not seeing trees for the wood.
Several Eastern philosophies talk about mindfulness, which, roughly speaking, means living in the present. Too many people, according to Buddhists and Taoists, spend too much time going over the past and worrying about the future. Instead, we should focus on the present, we should live now, and we should be aware of what we are now doing and where we are now.
"When eating a peach, eat the peach."