Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Photo by Ellinor Hamilton, 2004

Our minds are too busy. Our lives are too busy. We too-easily and too-often lose sight of what is central. This is the case with me, anyway; and, from what I see and hear, with a lot of other people as well.

I've had a line from somewhere circling in my consciousness: "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." I couldn't place its origin, so this morning I Googled it. It's Wordsworth:


The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

Yes, that's it. This is what I've been trying to say. This is what I've been trying to think. This is why I want to put a few eartly goods necessary for survival (and a few for comfort) into a pack on my back and walk from Georgia to Maine.

I fully plan to do this. I've wanted to for over 40 years, since I was 15. Things sometimes do, and sometimes don't, work out the way we've planned. I expect to fulfill my dream, but if life intervenes and throws in insurmountable obstacles, I hope I'll have the strength and focus to find somewhere deep within myself the same detachment from things, expectations, and striving.

Proteus: Greek sea god capable of taking many shapes.
Triton: Another sea god, often depicted as trumpeting on a shell.


Marshamlow said...

What a lovely photo and poem. I am glad you found voice to your thoughts.

ShirleyPerly said...

Well, one could use the old cliche "better late than never." But, really, I think it's wonderful that you've held onto your dream for so long and will be making it come true soon.

Kewl Nitrox said...

Ellie, you are so right. Unless we grab life by the horns and focus on what we want to do, it usually ends up swarming all over us and sucking us into the huge void called "existing".

I like a Christian song called "More than alright" - it basically says that as Christians, we should live life determined to be much more than just "alright". We have the unshakable peace and the unspeakable joy of the Lord. The world often moves it to try to steal it away from us, but peace and joy is always a prayer and a quiet moment away.

Coach Tammy said...

Just checking in on you, as I do from time to time. My mom is in Aberdeen, SD... and I just this minute got off the phone with her. Not sure where really in SD, or just used that picture for your poem. Either way, happy travels. Hope we cross paths again one day.

Jade Lady said...

Wow...had no idea u've had that dream for so long! Nice photo!

Dianne said...

THis is a great poem. thanks for looking it up and sharing it. You are living such a scaled down life, and yet the poem speaks to needs in you. And Wordsworth speaks to us from 150 or so years ago with a message for today.

Jeff said...

Beautiful photo, and a great post.