How To Catch Nature Unaware

I found this entry in the American Notebooks a while back. I remembered it today when looking up from my work at the world outside my window.

I have before now experienced, that the best way to get a vivid impression and feeling of a landscape, is to sit down before it and read, or become otherwise absorbed in thought; for then, when your eyes happen to be attracted to the landscape, you seem to catch Nature unaware, and see her before she has time to change her aspect. The effect lasts ut for a single instant, and passes away almost as soon as you are conscious of it; but it is real, for that moment. It is as if you could overhear and understand what the trees are whispering to one another; as if you caught a glimpse of a face unveiled, which veils itself from every willful glance. The mystery is revealed, and after a breath or two, becomes as much of a mystery as before. I caught one such glimpse, this forenoon, though not so perfectly as sometimes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Friday, August 15, 1851

Posted on December 14, 2005 in books . | 2 Trackbacks, 0 Comments


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