Maybe it was my birthday or maybe it was the equinox, but September rushed by in fire-red fashion. So before October could arrive and before all the leaves dropped and browned, we spent some time leaf peeping up Mill Creek Canyon. Sorry, no story this time—just a bunch of pictures (which equals thousands of words, right?).
Things have been blurry for The Under Twin ever since he split from his sister. For their entire lives, The Twins have always been considered "mistakes" because they were double-yolked at birth, so being separated from his twin made him feel even more isolated and scrambled. When you live your entire life as a pair, in the face of odds, it's not easy feeling whole when you're alone.
The magical white house once belonged to a great poet named Ralph. He believed magic existed between people and nature. As The Under Twin poked around the yard, he remembered Algernon teaching him how to listen to the wind of his soul. So he did. In a very quiet, whipsery kind of way, this is what he heard...
Your isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation. At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with empathetic trifles… But keep thy state; come not into their confusion.
The secret of fortune is joy in our hands.
Insist on yourself. Never imitate.
Your goodness must have some edge to it - else it is none.
Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul.
Power… resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state… This one fact the world hates, that the soul becomes.
Jumping off Ralph's chimney, into the wind, felt like a rush because The Under Twin had come to realize a few things about himself while visiting the magical white house: he knew he was going to find his sister and apologize; he knew he wasn't a mistake just because he was born double-yolked; he knew he was going to avoid the hobgoblin of little minds; he knew he was going to live in the swift, summary way of boys... who are sure of a dinner.
All italicized references from this post are direct quotes from the timeless classic essay, Self-Reliance. Read it.
Somethings you never expect to happen: salt ditching pepper for cumin or macaroni going stag for a night on the town while cheese molds away in heartbreak. So when The Twins' sibling rivalry blew up into an unusual heated argument, The Under Twin took off and the day turned gray. They have never been apart, so The Upper Twin was completely full of woe. The girls brainstormed and came up with something to cheer up their Upper Twin:
Did you know the book was written and set in the Alcott's home? Did you know the Alcott's named their home Orchard House? Have you ever been so excited about something that you've had an accident? That's okay. Accidents happen.
Sophia always imagined herself as Margaret "Meg" March—the oldest, the most beautiful and governess-employed sister. Spending time in front of the mirror/window seemed something very Meg AND very Elizabeth Taylor.
The artistic, youngest and "regular snow-maiden" Amy was Yvette's muse. Sometimes spoiled and somewhat vain, Yvette could sympathize with Amy's disposition and her choice in men. "The last IS the best of all the gang—she gets Laurie!" Yvette shouted, imagining jumping from the roof into Laurie's arms (the Christian Bale version of Laurie, of course).
Penny liked Josephine because "Jo" was like the author, Louisa. As Penny raced up the roof to do her beak-stand, she quoted Louisa: "No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences..."
The Upper Twin connected with the scarlet fever stricken Elizabeth "Beth" March. Being apart from her twin felt like a dark shadow was looming over her. She felt very little, very small and wondered if she would ever be considered beautiful and not just cute.
When they met up, The Upper Twin told the others that she was going to do the "bigger" thing and be the first to apologize to her sibling. After all, it was her brother that always carried her on his back and it was her brother who always made her feel taller than she really was.
I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
To be awake is to be alive.
Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.
Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores.
In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty, nor weakness.
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
While men believe in the infinite, some ponds will be thought to be bottomless.
A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
It is surprising how many great men and women a small house will contain.
Visit Walden Pond. Deliberately.