Storm's Journal

(Tom Bessette, Beaver Meadow Brook, 1997)

Spauldings Farm

I took a walk on Spaulding's Farm the other afternoon. I saw the setting
sun lighting up the opposite side of a stately pine wood. Its golden rays
straggled into the aisles of the wood as into some noble hall. I was
impressed as if some ancient and altogether admirable and shining family
had settled there in that part of the land called Concord, unknown to me,
--to whom the sun was servant,-- who had not gone into society in the village,
--who had not been called on. I saw their park, their pleasure-ground, 
beyond through the wood, in Spaulding's cranberry-meadow. 

The pines furnished them with gables as they grew. Their house was not
obvious to vision; their trees grew through it. I do not know whether 
I heard the sounds of a suppressed hilarity or not. They seemed to recline
on the sunbeams. They have sons and daughters. They are quite well. The
farmer's cart-path, which leads directly through their hall, does not in
the least put them out,--as the muddy bottom of a pool is sometimes seen
through the reflected skies. They never heard of Spaulding, and do not
know that he is their neighbour,--notwithstanding I heard him whistle as he
drove his team through the house. Nothing can equal the serenity of their
lives. Their coat of arms is simply a lichen. I saw it painted on the
pines and oaks. Their attics were in the tops of the trees. They are of no
politics. There was no noise of labour. I did not perceive that they were
weaving or spinning. Yet I did detect, when the wind lulled and hearing
was done away, the finest imaginable sweet musical hum,--as of a distant
hive in May, which perchance was the sound of their thinking. They had no
idle thoughts, and no one without could see their work, for their industry
was not as in knots and excrescences embayed.

But I find it difficult to remember them. They fade irrevocably out of 
my mind even now while I speak and endeavor to recall them, and recollect
myself. It is only after a long and serious effort to recollect my best
thoughts that I become again aware of their cohabitancy. If it were not
for such families as this, I think I should move out of Concord.

(Thoreau, 'Walking')

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