Sunday, December 8, 2013

Window Shopping with Thoreau

Far too often we try to purchase beauty with money, never really realizing it's right there in front of us—and free.

Check out this quote from Henry David Thoreau that recently came to my attention. I can't help but notice he's describing a scene familiar to today's Christmas shoppers. I've checked the calendar from 1857, and November 27 would have been Black Friday had there been such a thing back then. Thoreau looks at the storefront window filled with beautiful things and receives as a gift the ornate frost decorations on the window glass itself. Simply brilliant

True beauty is free, if only we'll take the time to notice.
Standing before Stacy’s large glass windows this morning, I saw that they were gloriously ground by the frost. I never saw such beautiful feather and fir-like frosting. His windows are filled with fancy articles and toys for Christmas and New Year’s presents, but this delicate and graceful outside frosting surpassed them all infinitely. I saw countless feathers with very distinct midribs and fine pinnae. The half of a trunk seemed to rise in each case up along the sash, and these feathers branched off from it all the way, sometimes nearly horizontally. Other crystals looked like pine plumes the size of life. If glass could be ground to look like this, how glorious it would be!                                              — Henry Thoreau's Journal, November 27, 1857 

[The photo above is not my own.]

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