I write in a house darkened by the diurnal turn of time, the room illumined only by the glow of my computer screen, serenaded by the on-again off-again hum of the refrigerator. (It is on the on-cycle now.) "House" this technically is, but to give you a better sense of the ambiance and peace in which I write, I should mention that this "house" is a log-cabin. The ceiling, walls and floor are raw, aged wood, with their knots and stress and nature showing. No dry wall or sheet rock conceal the majesty that nature made that holds a roof above my head and insulates me - better than most fillers - from the hot and cold of the weather outside.
No pictures or weavings or paintings hang on these walls. The woods provide the decoration and aesthetics of the room. To place a work of art on these walls feels like putting make-up on a child.
The cabin sits at the crest of five hilly acres, bounded on one side by a swiftly flowing stream, if the season has been a wet one. It is engulfed by trees, and some countless wooded acres owned by distant neighbors.
I came here to be restored by nature and solitude. The cabin doesn't fail me. I spend my time reading Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis, about the major currents driving one of the most remarkable band of men in history; and The Sound of Mountain Water by Wallace Stegner, one of America's most gifted nature essayists. The pairing is not so odd as it may seem. Each book is inspiring: with explorations of blithe nature and self-conscious actors, the enduring affect things and people can have on those around them and after them, and the majesty in both being moved by and moving events of the world.
What a rich life indeed - moment to moment - to tend so carefully to the legacy of one's deeds, to see so much in the rush of rain down a mountainside. How much less would we spend on pedicures and ribbons if we lived our lives at that edge of awareness, how much fuller our days and how much better this world?