Some Emerson from an autumnal island…

The weather here on Paros has been a blessing.  It has felt like summer in early October and although the students at the Aegean Center are working hard and discovering the rhythms of the school, they have also enjoyed the sun, swimming and island life.  The heat, however, has forced those of us in the darkroom to take measures for chilling our chemistry.  This is not a problem, but it does require an extra step or two if one wishes to develop film properly.  We will begin printing next week and by that time the ambient temperature should have cooled and our lives will be less complex.  The breeze moving down the streets and alleys this evening is more crisp and there was a heavy dew this morning.  We are supposed to have some rain next week which will slowly turn the amber and silver-grey hills around the bay light green.  I enjoy the change of seasons and this time of year I am reminded that Paros, and all of Greece, has distinct times of year beyond the sun-drenched blue and white stereotype of tourist advertising.

red tomatoes in a blue bowl

I realized the other day that I left my collected Emerson paperback in Italy, perhaps in some hotel.  I imagine it slipped from my backpack and under the bed, forgotten in my eagerness to return to Greece.  I hope it ends up on some shelf to be read by a passing traveler.  I do have my  ‘A Year with Emerson”, which will quote for today, October 10.  He wrote about his ideal scenario regarding readers and how he would like to be perceived: “I would have my book read as I have read my favorite books, not with explosion & amazement, a marvel and a rocket, but a friendly & agreeable influence stealing like the scent of a flower or the sight of a new landscape on a traveler.  I neither wish to be hated & defied by such as I startled, nor to be kissed and hugged by the young whose thoughts I stimulate.”

He also wrote,

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide
upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There
are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are
right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some
of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it
takes brave men and women to win them.”

Both of these concepts–the idea of the more quiet path, modesty being the philosophy and the understanding that one must always be true to oneself and not falter regardless of outside influences–inspire me to be a better person.  The given fact is, of course, that I am human and will sometimes stumble, sometimes reach for glory or even react in a self-deprecating manner.  Imperfection makes the best and most lofty ideals attainable.

(Tomatoes have nothing to do with this post.  I just liked the picture. Think of it as an interlude.  It is also 4 years old and from New York.  Nothing to do with Greece, Emerson or anything at all, really.)


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