Thursday, August 09, 2007

Human kinks

One of my favorite books to browse, when I have a few moments, is a sweet old 1887 edition of Whitman's Specimen Days in America. Here's his February 1877 entry titled "One of the human kinks":

How is it that in all the serenity and lonesomeness of solitude, away off here amid the hush of the forest, alone, or as I have found in prairie wilds, or mountain stillness, one is never entirely without the instinct of looking around, (I never am, and others tell me the same of themselves, confidentially,) for someone to appear, or start up out of the earth, or from behind some tree or rock? Is it a lingering, inherited remains of man's primitive wariness, from the wild animal? or from his savage ancestry far back? It is not at all nervousness or fear. Seems as if something unknown were possibly lurking in those bushes, or solitary places. Nay, it is quite certain there is--some vital unseen presence.

[photo: pokeweed, 8/9/07]

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