The more I watch them the more I like them. Ever since that first day when I saw one gamboling over the woodpile I thought they were fun. Now, everytime I see a chipmunk I am more impressed. They are wee little beasties to be sure, but a fair measure more bold than the squirrels. And they watch. They take note of their surroundings with more interest than the squirrels regularly do. I’ve watched a chipmunk sit on a sun bathed stump, swishing his little striped tail, looking all the world like he’s enjoying the chipmunk life. Two just now scrambled over the woodpile, not looking very serious at all. I almost get the sense that I if went outside and told them a funny joke, they would get it. The jays never would, the squirrels wouldn’t, the ravens might but would think me droll and beneath their lofty wit. The chipmunks would, and would return the favor.
If I were to have a tea party I would definitely invite the chipmunks, even though they would have to leave early for another appointment.
I’m not ashamed to admit it. It has taken me a year to finally get to really reading Thoreau. I started Walden a few times since it was given to me as a gift last year for my birthday, but haven’t had the spark to keep wading through. Thoreau is, of course, funny to me, as I reflect his thought like I was a disciple, without ever reading his words before. I’ve come to the same conclusions about a great deal of life and now meet him as a compatriot, reading his words that strangely reflect something similar to what I’ve written in the recent past. I picked up a selection of his journal entries the other day, again, but this time I was bit by it, coming up for air only after fifty pages.
It’s not that I couldn’t read the words or didn’t understand him. It is more that over the past year I’ve somehow gained insight that allows me to really be able to read Thoreau. I have more of the ‘ah, yes.. that’s it” moments rather than the “isn’t that interesting” kind of moments. I feel the words, with his observations raising within me the emotions and memories of fraternal experiences that I have found in my last year. I don’t have the east coast of the mid-19th century, but I have experienced related emotions in similar settings, and find myself resonating thoroughly with Thoreau.
He wrote in 1841:
It does seem as though mine were a peculiarly wild nature, which so yearns toward all wildness. I know of no redeeming qualities in me but a sincere love for some things, and when I am reproved I have to fall back on to this ground. This is my argument in reserve for all cases. My love is invulnerable. Meet me on that ground, and you will find me strong. When I am condemned, and I condemn myself utterly, I think straightaway, “But I rely on my love for some things.” Therein I am whole and entire. Therein I am God-propped.
I know the feeling. I live the expression of this.