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Any where is a here with a double you (2)


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2. Any where is a here with a double you

Emerson steps into the currents of the Universal Being and Dillard’s eye is open to the landscape of the universe. Here we must pay attention to our process of paying attention—our “way of thinking about thinking” (Richardson 5)—to account to the presence of presence. 

“Our psychological duty is to cling as closely as possible to the actual constitution of the thought we are studying,” notes James. “The mass of our thinking vanishes for ever, beyond hope of recovery, and psychology only gathers up a few of the crumbs that fall from the feast” (276).

If we are to be nourished in any way, we must seize the delicious morsels Emerson and Dillard leave behind in their forest feast, their picnic in presence.  Aware of trees in a where of trees, the shock of impression on the “universal soul within or behind [their] individual life” (Emerson 21) we pick up a crumb of meaning from the very language itself.

For both Emerson and Dillard, their where (in the trees, by the creek) morphs into a here with a w and we are shocked with another perception: Any where is a here with a w.  If we employ James’ assertion and cling to the actual constitution of this thought we are studying—how presence of a universal soul is encountered in nature—we can see it is always present, though hidden if we do not look, in the very where—in fact anywhere—we go.

Furthermore, if any where is always a here with a w and if we focus more astutely on the phrase, here our “outward and inward senses are…adjusted to each other” (Emerson 10) and what we see, outwardly, here with the eye on the tree of the page, when we speak the letter w aloud or whisper it to our inner ear we are shocked with another observation: we hear that any where is a here with a double you (w). The sensation and advent of presence is always present.

Emerson and Dillard highlight this doubleness when they encounter God’s presence in nature.  That presence is retained on the tree that is the page.  As readers, we hear in the language itself that we are not alone.  Presence fills the very syntax of what we read.  We need not be in nature.  Anywhere we read we commune and cannot evade presence.  “I am not solitary whilst I read or write, though nobody is with me” (Emerson 9).

 

Full Works Cited 

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 The series “Finding Grace with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friends” is adapted from my work in Dr. Kate Stanley’s wonderful course on Pragmatism and the American Aesthetic at Western University and is an exercise in finding grace in life and language.

 

About Andrew Kooman: Andrew is a Canadian writer and producer. His work has been published and viewed around the world and translated into more than 10 languages. Andrew strives to tell powerful stories that make real-world impact.  { Learn More }

 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash


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