books, winter, and fun with Schopenhauer

So I haven’t written anything for a while, and now there’s a few things I feel like writing about, so I guess I’ll begin on one and see where that goes. But before I get started with that, I offer my best wishes for the New Year to all who are, for reasons best known to themselves, reading this.
I’ve read a couple of books recently which I’ve been thinking about blogging about. I think I’ll save one for some other time. You’ll all just have to deal with the suspense.
The other is the book I mentioned in my last post, The Night Country by Loren Eiseley. Eiseley was an anthropologist and writer who was originally from Nebraska. This is a book of essays, and I’ve tried to explain what they are about to a few people, but wound up just recommending that they read the book. It made me feel like re-reading Thoreau’s Walden, though the books are not particularly similar. However, The Night Country, among other things, put me into a “winter” frame of mind: a feeling of longing for that austere, strange, aloneness that one experiences also when reading about that small, solitary person living alone in the woods through the cold dark months.
Winter is really the season for introverts, the others are so associated with bright, smiling, friendly nature and getting together with people outdoors. But in winter, if you are outside at all, you are outside alone. People are inside where it’s warm, birds’ songs are fewer, many animals are hibernating, the appearance of the leafless trees tells you they are sleeping, the snow damps all noise and there is silence. You can hear your own thoughts, there is no danger of being caught by an acquaintance and forced to come up with the correct things to say and do. Gradually your own thoughts fade away though, and you just look, listen, smell, if you stop walking even the sounds of your self are gone and you are standing, watching, waiting, dreaming with the trees and the sleeping animals and the bulbs underground, and that is Winter.
Moving right along, on NPR the other day, some fellow offered a quotation from Arthur “optimism is a bitter mockery of men’s woes” Schopenhauer along the lines of “there is no point in getting upset over any particular aspect of life, since all of life demands tears.”
Yesterday, on I find this. The angst-ridden high school debater who still lurks deep within my psyche is calling out “Go, Art!”, though I recognize the inappropriateness of that response.

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