“The rays which stream through the shutter will be no longer remembered when the shutter is wholly removed. No method nor discipline can superseded the necessity of being forever on the alert.” Hank Thorough (sic), Walden
Gardeners always want it all in the garden. Both perpetual spring, the lovely labor of summer, and still we want to welcome the harvest of fall and light the first fire in the fireplace. Whether you are rich in worldly wealth, health and happiness, or a beggar beneath a bridge scratching a lettuce garden . Forget those rays of summer sunshine, coming through the west-facing bedroom window. Stretch across the bed at 14:00, turn on the fan and nestle with your cat for a last summer afternoon nap.
Soon, with the tilt of the globe, the sun will depart earlier, the weak winter sun will permit the blinds to be completely open for the first time since last Winter. Mail order catalog season is upon us. No more summer sunshine naps, feeling the warmth of cat and sun mingle on my skin.
Henry David Thoreau seems to be saying that if we just pay attention, we will be rewarded. He goes on to elaborate that more valuable than the most prestigious advanced education, just learn to see what there is to be seen.
Here’s what he wrote about he learned in his first summer at Walden:
“Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, admist the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sing around or flitted noiseless through the house, until by the sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time.”
If all you have is one window that faces west, this is the moment to sit or stand there and watch the garden one late September afternoon. Pay attention as the golden sun fades into the trees across the canyon, and dusk creeps in. Even beggars don’t have to chose our favorite season, we can savor them all.