Monday, August 10, 2009

The Outermost House (3). Henry Beston.

The Outermost House (3): A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod. Henry Beston. New York: The Viking Press. 1928 (1956).

Why read it? Like Thoreau at Walden, Beston took up a solitary residence in a cottage on the beach where he could observe the life of the sand and the dunes and the moods of the ocean.

Sample ideas and quotes:

“Those trillions of unaccountable lives [insects], crawling, buzzing intense presences which nature created to fulfill some unknown purpose or perhaps simply to satisfy a whim for a certain sound or a moment of exquisite color….” p. 65.

“As I muse here, it occurs to me that we are not sufficiently grateful for the great symphony of natural sound which insects add to the natural scene…all those little fiddles in the grass, all those cricket pipes, those delicate flutes….” p. 65.

“Living in outer nature keeps the senses keen, and living alone stirs in them a certain watchfulness.” p. 81.

“Being struck in the face by this sand and sleet was like being lashed by a tiny, pin-point whip.” p. 87.

“From the moment that I rose in the morning and threw open my door looking toward the sea to the moment when the spurt of a match sounded in the evening quiet of my solitary house, there was always something to do, something to observe, something to record, something to study, something to put aside in the corner of the mind.” p. 92.

“As I walk the beach on a bright and blustery January morning, my first impression is one of space, beauty, and loneliness.” p. 96.

“…no one really knows a bird until he has seen it in flight.” p. 98.

“I pause here to wonder at how little we know of the life span of wild animals.” p. 109.

To be continued.

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