Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Midwinter Thoughts of the Forest

It's midwinter today; we've got 45 days until the first day of spring, March 20th. Now that it's February, I start listening  to recordings of birdcalls and forest sounds to get me through the last weeks of winter. These sounds are a  great accompaniment to writing. My favorites are a CD called "Golden Pond" by Relax With, as well as an old cassette by the Nature Company called "Morning Songbirds."  

Today we received a letter from our friends at the 'camp' who live up north full-time. They don't have e-mail, so we engage in actual letter writing with each other. Their latest missive was a card with a note, a clipping from the local paper, a cartoon, and a small photocopied sheet with a quote typed on it. It looks like it had been typed a long time ago on a typewriter, then photocopied about 2,000 times.


The following has been called, by some literature professionals, the most perfect sentence in the English language. It appears on pages 114-115 in Thoreau's MAINE WOODS.

     "Once, when Joe (Aittean) called again, and we were listening for moose, we hear come, faintly echoing, or creeping from afar through the moss-clad aisles, a dull, dry, rushing sound with a solid core to it, yet as if half smothered under the grasp of the luxuriant fungus-like forest, like the shutting of a door in some distant entry of the damp and shaggy wilderness." Thoreau adds, "If we had not been there, no mortal had heard it. When we asked, Joe in a whisper what it was, he answered, 'Tree fall.' "