Life of Hardin Vol. VI, No. 6
Aren’t the Trees Lovely Today?
While poring the backlogs of correspondence, the editors discovered this gem, to which they have asked me to respond:
Why all the sarcasm? I just don’t get it. There’s always some sarcastic comment about the people on the bus, or the people at the grocery, or people anywhere. It sounds like you’re mad at the world all the time. Why don’t you write positive things? It might make you happier.
Let me make one thing clear: I am not mad! And it burns me up when gentle readers fail to see the humor and human commentary in a well-written, barb-laden, socially-aware article composed with tongue placed firmly in cheek. There are many subtle layers to sarcasm, irony, and satire that, when wielded properly, peel back the layers of the human condition in a way . . .
But forget all that. We shan’t go into it. Instead I will give the readers what they want. To wit:
Aren’t the trees lovely today? Their leaves have finished their annual transformation, a fall festival of explosive brilliance, a yearly ceremony to signify the end of summer, a final celebration of life when the foliage spends its last stores of energy in brilliant display before it falls dormant and brown o’er the winter. But only for winter! for it is a short rest, until the spring thaws and summer sun bring forth new green shoots. New life!
Just the other day I traversed an old byway--an ancient path carved by the leather-shorn feet of squaws burdened by precious papooses; by marching braves on the warpath; by the hooves of the passing fauna of the woods passing to and fro to gather food. Forgotten once, the path lay dormant in its own winter until new men paved it for use, traversed it with their own cargoes, then forgot it once more. It stands now as a memorial to those old days, a tunnel of colors--yellows, oranges, greens, in all shades, even living brown!--painted only by the brush of the Master Artist. Splashed across His canvas, stretched across the highway, aglow in the fiery rays of the sun, it called to me, lifted me above mere mortal ken and into the warm embrace of the ethereal plane.
What a glorious building is Nature! What a dazzling display of power, of mind, of inspiration, of beauty unparalleled by man’s miniscule powers of vision and creation. And yet, not so small. For has not God given man a portion of His own mind to create, to design, as a father also passes on to his children?
See the cabins set back in the woods along the road. Man designed them, built them using the happy marriage of thought and toil. With materials given by the trees and the land he built homes for his children--shelter, warmth, provision. Made from the forest, these same crude houses are also become part of the forest, part of the landscape, part of the grand painting that is life!
Soon the colors will fade, will take rest in the purity of white. The winter snows! But life remains. In the vibrant greens of the snow-laden cedars and firs. In the hoary wisps of smoke that carry the woody incense of life skyward. In the silent stalking of the fox, the scurry of the forest hare, the rumbled snoring of the black bear . . .
This could go on for pages. Normally you only hear this stuff from the lips of some love-struck fool and his first girlfriend, but I repeat it here for the benefit of the above correspondent and other like-minded readers. Happier? Debatable. Funny? The “World of Blissfully Happy People” is nice to watch sometimes, but funny it is not.