HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. EMERSON
Dear Mr. Emerson,
Thank you for "The Over-Soul," and "History" and "Nature" and "Circles" and "Friendship," and for admitting that it's really awkward and difficult to make pastoral calls, and for loving and nurturing Bronson Alcott (the "tedious archangel") and Margaret Fuller even though they worked your last nerve.
Thank you for keeping extensive and indexed journals so that we could see how your hurt about the way the Divinity School Address was criticized led you to pen "Self-Reliance," and please accept our apologies that that fine essay has been forever after claimed by perpetual adolescents as an apologia for bone-headed immaturity.
They're just not reading it.
Thank you for grieving that you could not adequately grieve your many losses, and for letting us into your miraculous mind through the auspices of your pen.
Thank you for declining to live at Fruitlands and for your gentle sarcasm and your immense kindness, and for teaching me that the best way to distract a fussy child is to ask him or her to go look at the sky and report back what it's doing. Thank you for nurturing the heart-breakingly brilliant and cranky Henry Thoreau and for having him as a guest in your home and for planting so many pear trees, and for eating pie for breakfast (because I like to do that sometimes too).
Thank you for rising above your usual thoughtful, careful style of disagreement and venting your spleen about the evils of slavery and particularly about the Fugitive Slave Act, and please excuse us for not remembering that about you more.
I, for one, will never credit you with dealing the death blow to nascent American Unitarianism. I love you and your Muse, and I bless you for all your works.
Thank you also, Mr. Emerson, for all the friendships created between those who love you, and for ... well, you know the rest. We talked about it that time I visited your grave in Concord in 1994.
The sense of the world is short, --
Long and various the report, --
To love and be beloved;
Men and gods have not outlearned it;
And, how oft soe'er they've turned it,
Not to be improved.
It would be a good day to spend a long time on this site: