As the Twig is Bent the Tree Inclines
“Everything that is printed and bound in a book contains some echo at least of the best that is in literature. Indeed, the best books have a use, like sticks and stones, which is above or beside their design, not anticipated in the preface, nor concluded in the appendix. Even Virgil’s poetry serves a very different use to me today from what it did to his contemporaries. It has often an acquired and accidental value merely, providing that man is still man in the world… It would be worth the while to select our reading, for books are the society we keep; read only the serenely true; never statistics, nor fiction, nor news, nor reports, nor periodicals, but only great poems, and then they failed, read them again, or perchance write more.” – Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
I keep returning to Thoreau this year. And he rarely lets me down. When he wrote these lines he was referencing the poetry of the long dead Virgil, contemplating the power of his words in his time, even as they meant something slightly different to him. And now I read Thoreau’s words, in turn contemplating the power of his words in the same fashion. We all are influenced by the collective wisdom of the ages, and if we’re bold write about our own perceptions of the world to in turn influence others. I’m not so bold as to compare myself to Virgil or Thoreau mind you, but I’ll keep working towards it nonetheless.
“Your descendants shall gather your fruits.” – Virgil
I’ll follow Thoreau’s lead and contemplate some of Virgil’s writing for a moment. Whether my writing amounts to anything more than the ramblings of a restless mind or the beginning of something greater remains to be seen at this point, but those descendants will know a bit more about that mind for having done the writing. Neither could have envisioned the world as it is today, and who might be contemplating their words. We all add to the chorus with our voice.
“As the twig is bent the tree inclines.” – Virgil
There’s no doubt that blogging has bent the twig a bit, so to speak. The benefit of this daily writing habit is that the behavior inclines us more towards greater things. Ultimately that’s the entire point of the exercise (and thank you for being part of the journey), chipping away at it. Getting that 10,000 hours in. Refining, building, becoming something better for the effort and consistency. And maybe add a little great poetry to the world in the process.