By Rattus Scribus© 28 December 2009
" I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
I have recently written two lighthearted poems (some might say frivolous rhymes). One on the day before Thanksgiving here on Rattus Scribus, written in the desperate need for distraction. The other on Christmas Eve and posted on Rattus' Tales, written in a moment of sheer lunacy. So I rather feel a little small starting this New Year's reflection with the august poetical language of Thoreau.
But as I look on this past year 2009, and my dreams for 2010, I feel I need help from the big guns. You might ask what right I have to appropriate from Thoreau's Walden -- a work that called his readers to the "simplicity, simplicity, simplicity" that the woodland-cloistered Transcendentalist found infinitely more meaningful than the time-wasting, unprofitable pursuits and responsibilities imposed by the "chopping sea of civilized life."
What can I, indeed what can most Americans, possibly have in common with Thoreau?
In a phrase: the desire to live life deliberately. To assess honestly, even brutally, what things in this world are essential to develop my life to the full, and to excise all the parasites of the deliberate life.
As 2009 comes to a close I am grateful to know people not so far removed as Thoreau, from whom I draw inspiration. I am only going to focus on one person in blogland here, though there are of course other dear friends and family I could praise.
Before I do, it would be an injustice if I did not mention my wife Anita from Castles Crowns and Cottages. Hers is among the most authentically lived lives I have ever known: her love of life, of God, of nature and its creatures, of artistic creations, her tenacity to accomplish goals (even those which have made her feel painfully like an insignificant fish in a cosmic pond), and her "natural" kindness" have blessed my life in a way it would not have been otherwise.
To Patricia (Tita) Cabrera of WoolyTales Miniatures.
Tita would never praise herself as I am about to do here. But she is a remarkable example of the deliberate life. Brazilian-born, she came to the United States and now lives on a working farm with her husband and seven children. Moving to a farm was a Thoreau-like equivalent of opting for a more deliberate life: a space where she and her family could "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life," instead of yielding to so much in today's culture that sucks the life out of us.
When Tita is not home-schooling her children, or helping and supervising chores like raising chickens for a poultry company, keeping bees, making honey, baking breads and other goodies from ingredients grown on the farm, making butter and cheese from their cows and goats, making wine from apples or blueberries, sewing clothes for her family and more, she is engaged in other truly magical skills, and her children are taught these skills and enter into the play. Lucky, lucky, lucky.
She and her children put on puppet shows in public venues (all marionettes -- wonders to behold -- props, stories, etc., are done by her and her children).
She creates the most amazing pieces of art (dolls and animals, of which Anita and I have three) and sells them to bring in family income. She draws and paints beautifully on fairy story themes. All these things and more are imbued with magic, an incredible attention to detail, and constant gratitude to God.
Perhaps the surest sign of a person living deliberately is that they share with others those things that bring them joy. Tita does that, constantly, consistently, deliberately: from a simple word of kindness or thanks, to the magical productions of her substantial imagination. If you have not visited Tita's blog, do yourself a favor.
Thank you dear Tita. Your religious faith, your artistry, your generosity (you blew us away this Christmas) and your life lived deliberately have placed before both me and Anita a new benchmark.
Your devoted friend,