I was thumbing through one of the
crappy old books I picked up the other day at the Starkville Friends of the Library book sale and saw this:
I go to books and to nature as the bee goes to a flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey.
I thought that was lovely. I’m still thinking about the walk Rocky, Missy and I took yesterday deep into the pines.
The quote is by John Burroughs (found in A Treasury of Great American Quotations: Our Country’s Life & History in the Thoughts of its Men and Women (1968)). It reminded my of another
crappy old book, Winter Sunshine by John Burroughs (1875).
Here’s a short passage from the chapter of the same title:
Cold as the day was (many degrees below freezing), I heard and saw bluebirds, and as we passed along every sheltered tangle and overgrown field or lane swarmed with snow-birds and sparrows– the latter mainly Canada or tree sparrows, with a sprinkling of the song, and may be, one or two other varieties. The birds are all social and gregarious in winter, and seem drawn together by common instinct. Where you find one, you will not only find others of the same kind, but also several different kinds.The regular winter residents go in little bands, like a well-organized pioneer corps– the jays and the woodpeckers in advance, doing the heavier work; the nuthatches next, more lightly armed; and the creepers and the kinglets, with their slender beaks and microscopic eyes, last of all.
There’s a footnote at the end of the last phrase: “It seems to me this is a borrowed observation, but I do not know whom to credit it to.”
That’s what happens when you collect nectar from books and nature.