I give thanks for the lonely night, for the hills, for the whispering of the darkness of the sea...
it whispers within my heart. I give thanks for my life, for my breathing, for the grace of being
alive to-night, for these things I give thanks from my heart! Listen in the east and listen in
the west, but listen! That is the everlasting God! This stillness murmuring in my ear is the
blood of all nature seeting, is God weaving through the world and through me. I see a gossamer
thread glistening in the fire's light, I hear the rowing of a boat in the harbour, the Northern
lights rise against the northern sky. Oh, I give thanks by my immortal soul that it is I who am
- from PAN
Why, in short, all these exacting demands? What have we earned? As many boxes of candy as a sweet tooth could desire? Fair enough. But have we not looked on the world each day and heard the soughing of the forest? There is no splendor like the soughing of the forest.
There was scent of jasmine in a grove, and a tremor of joy ran through one I know, not for the jasmine but for everything -- a lit-up window, a memory, the whole of life. But when he was called away from the grove, he had already been paid in advance for this annoyance.
And there is: the very favor of receiving life at all is handsome advance payment for all life's miseries, each single one.
No, a man should not believe in his right to more candy than he gets. A wanderer advises against all superstition. What is life's? Everything. And what is yours? Is fame? Pray tell us why! A man should not insist on what is "his"; to do so is ludicrous, and a wanderer laughs at anyone so ludicrous. I remember one such who never escaped that "his"; he laid his fire at high noon and finally got it to burn in the evening. Then he couldn't bring himself to leave its warmth for bed, but sat there making the most of it, till others got up again. He was a Norwegian dramatist.
I have wandered around a good deal in my time, and am now grown dull and withered. But I do not hold that perverse gray-beard's belief that I am wiser than I was. And I hope, indeed, that I shall never grow wise; it's a sign of decrepitude. If I thank God for life, it is not on the strength of any increased maturity that has come with age but because I have always enjoyed being alive. Age confers no maturity; age confers nothing beyond old age.
- from On Muted Strings