Tuesday, May 2, 2017

- Meriwether Lewis, August 18, 1805

 (We headed up through the Columbia Gorge to the Rowena Crest State Park.  It was a beautiful day and we took Princess Sparkleface up to see my brother and his kids for some hiking and fun in the late summer sun.)

"This day I completed my thirty first year, and conceived that I had in all human probability now existed about half the period which I am to remain in this sublunary world." -Lewis, Aug. 18, 1805
 (The water was crystal and dreamlike blue.  The Gorge spectacular.  Of course, the girls and I have been reading the Journal of Lewis and Clark and Meriwether's birthday entry is always quoted by critics as an insight into his mind, life and ultimate demise.)

"I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little, indeed, to further the happiness of the human race or to advance the information of the succeeding generation.  I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now sorely feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended, but since they are past and cannot be recalled, I dash them from me the gloomy thought."  -Lewis, Aug, 18, 1805
(I leave the passage here for the reader to peruse. The more humanity and humility we have in the world... the better.  Usually these fields are flooded with wild flowers and the hike here is flush with yellows and purple blues, but there's also such beauty in the sun-scorched grass... as if, like Lewis at the end of exertion, we find new life and meaning.)

"... And resolved in future, to redouble my exertions and at least endeavor to promote those two primary objects of human existence..." -Lewis, Aug, 18, 1805
(We hiked and scrambled around the trees and chased a deer or two and Uncle Grant rescued a hat blown off a cliff with a long rope and hook and ended up making a fine family memory that day, but always in the back of my mind was Lewis.  The epiphany of his 31st birthday... was it the raw beauty of America that gave him this decree to himself?  I like to think so... nature has her way, doesn't she?)

"... By giving them the aid of that portion of talents which nature and fortune have bestowed on me; or in future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself." -Lewis, Aug, 18, 1805

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