Sunday, April 05, 2009

Condition of Receptiveness

Strenuous Effort and Reverence.––We have seen in Ruskin and Wordsworth the strenuous attention––condition of receptiveness––which made each of them a producer after his kind; and whosoever will play the game, whether it be cricket or portrait painting, must learn the rules with all diligence and get skill by his labour. It is true, ‘the labour we delight in physics pain,’ but it is also true that we cannot catch hold of any one of the affinities that are in waiting for us without strenuous effort and without reverence. A bird-lover, one would say, has chosen for himself an easy joy; but no: your true bird-lover is out of doors by four in the morning to assist at the levée of the birds; nay, is he not in Hyde Park by 2.30 a.m. to see––the kingfisher, no less! He lies in wait in secret places to watch the goings on of the feathered peoples, travels far afield to make a new acquaintance in the bird-world; in fact, gives to the study of birds attention, labour, love, and reverence. He gets joy in return, so is perhaps little conscious of effort; but the effort is made all the same.

1 comment:

Susan L said...

Oh, I love this! I try to get this across about my mostly unschooled kids. Infatuation is shallow and short-lived. Loving a thing requires discipline, deep attention, and hard work. And one thing leads to another, bringing about a broad and deep education. There is work involved for sure, but it is joyful work and the burden seems light! :-)

Thanks for sharing,
Susan