Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


{Observations From Beneath My Hat Brim}

{How To Chase One's Hat}: One must find a fine, open field, preferably with lots of rolling thick grass over a hillside. There should be a breeze blowing up, and the sky is best when rain-washed and gray clouds are sculling by. The which I chase is a wonderful old blck, wide brimmed hat, reminding one of the sorts worn back during the late nineteenth century and into the first half of the twentieth. It was a gift of my grandfather, who had aquired it back during his days as a highway trooper, long ago, before, I suppose, they adopted the artless brown stiff things they wear now. Anyway, this is a simply lovely hat to toss up into the air and catch- that being the precise means of Chasing One's Hat. The yobbish fellow goes every where and way, blowing along with the wind and against it and up through it. On occasion a tree will catch it, but most of the time the hat tumbles down to the ground. Now, I suppose one should stay away from delicate sorts of hats- good, solid sorts are what one needs. Oh, the original expositer's explanation of this delightful (it truly is, one must simply try it to understand fully) idea can be found here: On Running After One's Hat

{On The Sublime}: Is there anything more stunning and wonderous than a rank of faerie-coloured orange mushrooms and gentle-hued acorns perched up high above an orange-tinted bubbling creek? No! Except, perhaps, the thrilling ecstacy of staring, with one's neck craned back, up into the rain-burnished boughs of a big-leaf magnolia- the leaves take one's breath away, so grand and lovely are they, and at this time of year they are festooned with smaller leaves- the crisp stars of sweetgums, and the branching, winding leaves of white-oaks. And it might be added that each and every sapling longleafpine is a work of pure brilliance and whimsy tossed together. When one comes upon a longleaf sapling, the first impression is that you have found a clump of grass blown quite out (and up) of proportion. The needles of young longleaf, beside being well over a foot in length, shoot out in an orbof shining, sheening green needles, their sharp orts glistening. It is simply remarkable, and one of the finest things- out of several thousand- to be seen here at the fringe of the Gulf. Now, all these things are remarkable, and I came across all of them this afternoon- but the grandest thing is to know the One who brought them all intp being, and sustains this whole lovely sweep of life. Imagine- as I stroll in the greatest gallery of art- pure, increidble art- in existence, I am continualy with the One who painted it all with His breath! Here is Life, Life in all its glorious sharp sheerness and glory. Here is Life all about, creation being restored through Him. O praise Him!

{On Faerie Woods}: There lies, not terribly afar off from my house, a spot where modernity and all our stinking progress has ground off and crept away to the fringes. I strayed through to-day. Part of it {the bit above comes from there also} stradles out over a sand-ridge, and is covered over in a weald of what I shall call, for want of better words, a faerie wood. Here the trees are short and stunted, which makes them all the more delightful. The wood is strewn through with longleafpine, slash pine, turkey oaks, and scores upon scores of sparkleberry, a close cousin of the blueberry. These little trees- for some do indeed grow rather tall- are the sorts that, like dogwoods and sourwoods, seem as if they are always uncertain which portion of the sky they wish to look at, and their twound-up trunks show it. They have all the appearance of being ancient- though I imagine most are hardly thirty years old- and faerie, for their leaves are tiny and sheen-cast. Of particular interest to those who rove about on foot or wing are the deep blue berries produced in late fall- right now, to be precise. I have found that their quality varies considerably from place to place. In the faerie wood they are small, but sweet, with just a tinge of the tartness characteristic of sparkleberries elsewhere I have sampled. I spent some time to-day gathering them, and it was whilst gathering these delightful little berries, a though struck me- I haven't given thanks for this gift {very much so a gift, as I did nothing at all to cultivate them!}. So I pulled down my hat and bowed my head and gave thanks to my Father then and there- not just for the sparkleberries, but for life, and for some things I had not thought to give thanks for before. Which is really quite sad- He has blessed me with so much, and I am horribly ungratefull, if one can judge from my prayers of thanks. I should hope that I can put this unadmirable pattern behind.

{A Stray Observation or Two}: The witch hazel is in bloom now, rather early. This marvelous little tree has blooms of tassely yellow strands that smell of lemon somewhat (like most such smells, it is impossible to describe them other than saying they smell like what they are), and these blooms are remarkable for, among other things, blooming in winter. There are also a number of small trees and shrubs changing colours now, particularly the paw-paws. But I could devote a whole day to the description of the remarkable paw-paw tree, so I'd best leave it at that.

{A Concluding Thought}: So then, that's a few of the things from my afternoon. I can quite honestly say that for a little while at least, to-day, I stepped over from sanity and into life {which, curiously enough, only comes when one throughs off himself and accepts Christ} and grand exuberance. All of which is practically impossible to describe with words- but folks like myself have an irresitable urge to try at least to scribble it out in words anyway.


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