AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

01 February 2017

Happy birthday, Cole.

Cole, The Architect's Dream, 1840.


Thomas Cole was born on this day in 1801.

How I have walked, day after day, and all alone, to see if there was not something among the old things that was new! Nature is still predominant, and there are those who regret that with the improvements of cultivation the sublimity of the wilderness should pass away: for those scenes of solitude from which the hand of nature has never been lifted, affect the mind with a more deep toned emotion than aught which the hand of man has touched. Amid them the consequent associations are of God the creator-they are his undefiled works, and the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.  None know how often the hand of God is seen in a wilderness but them that rove it for a man's life.  

Rural nature is full of spirit-quickening.  It is, in fact, the exhaustless mine from which the poet and the painter have brought such wondrous treasures-an unfailing fountain of intellectual enjoyment, where all may drink, and be awakened to a deeper feeling of the works of genius, and a keener perception of the beauty of our existence. For those whose days are all consumed in the low pursuits of avarice, or the gaudy frivolities of fashion, unobservant of nature's loveliness, are unconscious of the harmony of creation.  Overall, rocks, wood and water, brooded the spirit of repose, and the silent energy of nature stirred the soul to its innermost depths.

Amid those scenes of solitude, the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.  To walk with nature as a poet is the necessary condition of a perfect artist.  If I live to be old enough, I may sit down under some bush, the last left in the utilitarian world, and feel thankful that intellect in its march has spared one vestige of the ancient forest for me to die by.

We are still in Eden; the wall that shuts us out is our own ignorance and folly.

Thomas Cole

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