The damps of autumn sink into the leaves and prepare them for the necessity of their fall; and thus insensibly are we, as years close around us, detached from our tenacity of life by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow. W.S. Landor (1775 – 1864)
I read that quote, once, twice; ten times. I wonder what unspoken grief pressed his hand to the parchment to pen those lines? How often he must have felt the ‘damps of autumn’ seeping into his soul, and felt a heaviness of step, and weary bones?
Face-to-face with his own mortality; the author bleeds ink to his page. Now nearly 150 years after his death, I read those lines, and think I know what was going on in his soul: Are we ‘detached from our tenacity of life’ merely by age, or as Landor wrote: ‘by the gentle pressure of recorded sorrow’ ?
I sense a deep rift between life, and the prospect of death, as though he is weighing the cost, and the benefits of continuing despite the toil and pain. When we are young, we have that sharp ‘tenacity’ to hold on. The very concept of youth is wrapped up in a veracity to live, and a feeling of immortality.
The older we are; the less death seems a specter to be fought, and more it seems an old friend to be embraced.
Coyote Soul, Raven Heart: Meditations Of A Hunter Wanderer stands easily in the company of other Nature Philosophical works as Ogburn’s ‘The Winter Beach’, Beston’s Outermost House, and yes even ‘Walden’ by Thoreau.
Like these other books; the subject and content of ‘Coyote Soul, Raven Heart’ is not easily distilled into a few words, Reg’s book is both about the experiences of hunting in the wilds of northwestern Pennsylvania, and contemplation of a persons place in the larger world. It deals with the small experiences and choices in life, and also embraces the larger issues of purpose, and hope, and despair, all the while not losing sight of the natural world tying all these things together.
It is a verbal salve on the soul; where the decision not to use a firearm for hunting represents more than just a choice of tools to take a trophy; but rather a philosophy of life.
There is no traditional narrative, but rather bits and pieces that at first seem random and scattered like so many leaves, but pick through them; and see the path obscured underneath, and they link together and form an understanding of nature; and of mystery.
This book is about the technique and skill of Traditional Bowhunting as much as ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’ is about degreasing a carburetor, but as ‘Zen’ may make you cross the country on motorcycle, so does ‘Coyote Soul, Raven Heart’ make you yearn to throw off your polyester gym shorts, and don buckskin and take bow in hand to commune with the streams and stones.
I am surprised that I was unaware of this book for so many years. This book is considered one of the quintessential pieces of nature writing. Though the natural world is a great passion of mine, and in retrospect- some of the books I own reference The Outermost House, I had never picked up a copy until a week ago. The subject is unassuming, and simple: A year spent on the great beach of Cape Cod.
The author indeed did not set out to write a book, but merely wanted to take a short two week vacation in his newly constructed beach house. This turned into a solitary adventure that would forever mark his literary career. Henry Beston has a way of wording a sentence that leaves it marked in the mind long after the book is closed.
His descriptions are not laboriously detailed, even sparse at times, but he artfully gives exactly he information needed to render the scene on the imagination. It was a pleasant book to read, and though written in the mid 1920s, the English was not archaic or dated. I finished it in a little over 2 days of sparse reading.
Only Beston could write an entire chapter just about the sound of the surf on the sand, and not come off as strained. I could almost hear it for myself. This is a true classic and ‘The Outermost House’ should be on the ‘read next’ list for anyone who loves nature and the feel of the sand between the toes.
That number is the value I place on creativity. Or a hinting at the value I give to my writing. That is the cost of the pen case, and pens I carry everyday.
I use these pens like tools, they are the hammer and saw of my mind, the wrench that I use to fasten my mental state to the parchment of my life. Each of these tools has a function different than the others, and like a carpenter; I have a lifetime of choosing the tools that fit my work best…
There are 6 pens in my pen roll.
From right to left; they are:
Lamy Safari Yellow Fountain Pen, with EF Nib. (I have black ink in it. This pen is for dark thoughts, and deep dreams)
Kuretake No. 40 Sable Hair Brush-Pen. (Black Ink here as well, this is for expressive moments, and light flourishes)
Kuretake Letter Pen (This is by far my favorite pen, I use it for letter writing, for recording my thoughts. the tip is fine, and lets me move as freely as my thoughts. I keep Sepia Ink in this one.
Lamy Al-Star Graphite ( I have a blue-black ink in it, and have the 1.1mm Calligraphy nib on it. I use this pen for writing poetry, and for long thought out quotes. There is something about the calligraphy nib that drives me to write well, and poignant. I don’t doodle with this pen.)
Pentel Tradio Stylo with Blue Refill (This is a pen that lets me draw, scribble, and jot. A Pen for light moods, and free thoughts)
Kuretake Water Brush (This is not a pen in the true sense, but I use this in conjunction with my Winsor & Newton Bijou Box to full the world with rainbow colors).
I got all these pens from Jetpens.
This is the 24 pen set from Jetpens, they are the Pilot Frixion Pens, that are not yet available in the US, but they should be. They are a bit pricy at $50 a set, but there is a bunch of ink in each, so they should last a good long while. I bought them about 7 months ago and I have been using them regularly since, and they are still going strong.
The colors are great, they are more pastel than bold, and the colors show up very well. They write wet, but surprisingly they do not bleed through no matter how thin the paper ( I have tested them even on thin rice paper) which makes them great for lots of things.
Naturally they erase well, and can be written over many times. I also have the highlighter version, and they are just as usefull, it’s good to be able to highlight and be able to erase it again if I choose the wrong color…
Above is a color edited photo of the Allan Longprimer 53br (bottom) and the Allan Brevier Clarendon 6C (top)
I ordered both of these bibles looking for a lifelong investment, but am having terrible trouble deciding between them. I cant really justify keeping both of them (because together they cost more than $300) and besides I like having only one, to keep everything together, and not be wasteful.
Needless to say they are amazing pieces of hand-worked art. Gold Gilt, and Goatskin Leather. They are almost fluid, and you really have to pick one up to understand.
In any case, I have had them for about a week now, and I am still at a loss as to which one to keep. Size vs. Readability….
Such a conundrum to be in…..