Man takes root at his feet, and at best, he is no more than a potted plant in his house or carriage till he has established communication with the soil by the loving and magnetic touch of his soles to it.
The animal world seizes its food in masses little and big, and often gorges itself with it, but the vegetable, through the agency of the solvent power of water, absorbs its nourishment molecule by molecule.
The trunk of a tree is like a community where only one generation at a time is engaged in active business, the great mass of the population being retired and adding solidity and permanence to the social organism.
Nearly every season, I make the acquaintance of one or more new flowers. It takes years to exhaust the botanical treasures of any one considerable neighborhood, unless one makes a dead set at it, like an herbalist.
As life nears its end with me, I find myself meditating more and more upon the mystery of its nature and origin, yet without the least hope that I can find out the ways of the Eternal in this or in any other world.
Emerson stands apart from the other poets and essayists of New England, and of English literature generally, as of another order. He is a reversion to an earlier type, the type of the bard, the skald, the poet-seer.
To me, nothing else about a tree is so remarkable as the extreme delicacy of the mechanism by which it grows and lives: the fine, hair-like rootlets at the bottom and the microscopical cells of the leaves at the top.
Why, we have invented the whole machinery of the supernatural, with its unseen spirits and powers, good and bad, to account for things, because we found the universal everyday nature too cheap, too common, too vulgar.
Our flying squirrel is in no proper sense a flyer. On the ground, he is more helpless than a chipmunk, because less agile. He can only sail or slide down a steep incline from the top of one tree to the foot of another.
When Darwin published his conclusion that man was descended from an apelike ancestor who was again descended from a still lower type, most people were shocked by the thought; it was intensely repugnant to their feelings.
Living in the city is a discordant thing, an unnatural thing. The city, a place to which one goes to do business, is a place where men overreach each other in the fight for money. But it is not a place in which one can live.
The beautiful vagabonds, endowed with every grace, masters of all climes, and knowing no bounds - how many human aspirations are realized in their free, holiday-lives, and how many suggestions to the poet in their flight and song!
One of the most graceful of warriors is the robin. I know few prettier sights than two males challenging and curveting about each other upon the grass in early spring. Their attentions to each other are so courteous and restrained.
I always feel that I have missed some good fortune if I am away from home when my bees swarm. What a delightful summer sound it is! How they come pouring out of the hive, twenty or thirty thousand bees, each striving to get out first!
August is the month of the high-sailing hawks. The hen hawk is the most noticeable. He likes the haze and calm of these long, warm days. He is a bird of leisure and seems always at his ease. How beautiful and majestic are his movements!
Robin is one of the most native and democratic of our birds; he is one of the family, and seems much nearer to us than those rare, exotic visitants, as the orchard starling or rose-breasted grossbeak, with their distant, high-bred ways.
Some scenes you juggle two balls, some scenes you juggle three balls, some scenes you can juggle five balls. The key is always to speak in your own voice. Speak the truth. That's Acting 101. Then you start putting layers on top of that.
The very idea of a bird is a symbol and a suggestion to the poet. A bird seems to be at the top of the scale, so vehement and intense is his life, large-brained, large-lunged, hot, ecstatic, his frame charged with buoyancy and his heart with song.
I am sure I was an evolutionist in the abstract, or by the quality and complexion of my mind, before I read Darwin, but to become an evolutionist in the concrete, and accept the doctrine of the animal origin of man, has not for me been an easy matter.
The dog is often quick to resent a kick, be it from man or beast, but I have never known him to show anger at the door that slammed to and hit him. Probably, if the door held him by his tail or his limb, it would quickly receive the imprint of his teeth.
If one gains an interest in the history of the earth, he is quite sure to gain an interest in the history of the life on the earth. If the former illustrates the theory of development, so must the latter. The geologist is pretty sure to be an evolutionist.
The pond-lily is a star and easily takes the first place among lilies; and the expeditions to her haunts, and the gathering her where she rocks upon the dark, secluded waters of some pool or lakelet, are the crown and summit of the floral expeditions of summer.
Emerson is the spokesman and prophet of youth and of a formative, idealistic age. His is a voice from the heights which are ever bathed in the sunshine of the spirit. I find that something one gets from Emerson in early life does not leave him when he grows old.
More than any other poet, Whitman is what we make him; more than any other poet, his greatest value is in what he suggests and implies rather than in what he portrays, and more than any other poet must he wait to be understood by the growth of the taste of himself.
When the woodpecker is searching for food, or laying siege to some hidden grub, the sound of his hammer is dead or muffled and is heard but a few yards. It is only upon dry, seasoned timber, freed of its bark, that he beats his reveille to spring and wooes his mate.