Nature and Reverie

November 28, 2012

My studies have kept me busy and looming essay deadlines have made it difficult to post. I’m beginning to experience a mild disdain for the “hypertrophy of method” (term borrowed from Mallinson) and the critical eye of theory in academic writing. Although, there is one professor that grants me the freedom of creative initiative. My professor and mentor in philosophy has introduced me to Gaston Bachelard and Marcel Proust. Since the introduction my world-view has shifted.

Bachelard and Proust have taught me about reverie. Their love of nature and poetic writing continue to inspire the most hardened hearts. I’ve come to see nature as our only true inspiration, our only true muse– lovers leave us, friends grow and change and family may even abandon us, yet the universe is always waiting to bestow its gifts of nature upon us.

Bachelard spends pages writing of the beauty of a single flower and the poetic reverie inspired by this single object: “The flower born in poetic reverie, then, is the very being of the dreamer, his flowering being” (The Cogito of the Dreamer). 

Proust begins a love affair with his hawthorn trees: “‘Oh, my poor little hawthorns… I shall always love you.’ I promised them that, when I grew up, I would never copy the foolish example of other men… on fine spring days, instead of paying calls and listening to silly talk, I would make excursions into the country to see the first hawthorn-trees in bloom” (Swann’s Way).

Amongst deadlines and life events I will always have my flower or my hawthorn tree. I have been spending more time outdoors, even during the cold months. A tree has taken on new life; the sturdy trunk grows to branch in endless possibilities. The green grass becomes a sparkling emerald in the sunlight. One late evening as I was driving home on the back roads of Pennsylvania, the moon was so fiercely lit that I pulled my car to the side of the road to observe its beauty. As I stood quietly, three deer approached me without hesitation. Their beauty and grace held my attention. We all stood frozen in time, simply acknowledging one-another. We were all one with the cosmos in those few moments. I quietly thanked the universe for the experience and later drove home knowing that I was changed by that encounter.

My posts are a reflection of my encounters, and while I can strive to express my thoughts as poetically as Bachelard or Proust, that skill will only come with time. For now, I will continue to be inspired by nature and the work of my favorite writers– they will encourage me to see the world through the eyes of a “cosmic child” (Bachelard). Yet, I find it ironic that poetic words supply us with the means to express the moments in life that render us speechless.



October 12, 2012

I will soon have students. I take a breath as I reread that statement. I am a student myself and the idea of sharing my knowledge with others is daunting. More importantly, it’s a great responsibility. A responsibility because it’s not my intention to persuade my students to think like me, but to encourage them to think for themselves. My job is merely an introduction.

I will be teaching disciplines within the humanities, yet the humanities is such a broad term. When I refer to this blanket term my mind retrieves many images: art, music, literature, history, philosophy and religion. It is the study of the human condition; the achievements of our greatest gift, the mind. We have the ability to imagine and create, and when we produce something so profound and share it with the world, we leave a lasting impression with all who come in contact with it.

When I had the opportunity to view the Mona Lisa in Paris I felt that impact. I fought my way through the crowd of fellow tourists, hoping to catch a glimpse of this iconic image. Initially, many feel disappointment when they view her– “This is it? I fought through everyone to see this small, quarantined painting?” Look again. A glimpse of her smile is all that is needed to understand why she is so endearing. Her smile holds truth. I thought if I stared long enough she would give me an assuring wink, which revealed  subtle hints: don’t ever take anything too seriously; life is both beautiful and fleeting.

I come here to share my thoughts and ideas, hoping to gain a little insight in preparation for what lies ahead. I have a weakness for German theologians, philosophers and sacred texts of all religious traditions, although I may write on any topic. I have an unending curiosity, which will reveal itself. I look forward to writing my reveries. I look forward to interacting with others and following their reveries as well. Greetings to all.

Hello world!

September 13, 2012

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