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The Art of Living
If at any time it comes into my head that a present is due from me to somebody, I am puzzled what to give, until the opportunity is gone. Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature: they are like music heard out of a work-house. Nature does not cocker us; we are children, not pets; she is not fond; everything is dealt to us without fear or favor, after severe universal laws. Yet these delicate flowers look like the frolic and interference of love and beauty. Men use to tell us that we love flattery even though we are not deceived by it, because it shows that we are of importance enough to be courted. Something like that pleasure, the flowers give us: what am I to whom these sweet hints are addressed?..
Next to things of necessity, the rule for a gift, which one of my friends prescribed, is that we might convey to some person that which properly belonged to his character, and was easily associated with him in thought. But our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. This is right and pleasing, for it restores society in so far to the primary basis, when a man’s biography is conveyed in his gift, and every man’s wealth is an index of his merit.
The American radical individualist philosopher and abolitionist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) in his essay on “Gifts” which he published in 1844 asks himself what is the best gift to give during the Christmas and New Year period.
He begins by asking what is the most appropriate gift to give in a time of high public and private indebtedness when the “world is in a state of bankruptcy”. His answer is twofold. His first recommendation is not surprising given his views on nature: the gift should be a simple one such as flowers because “they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world” or fruits because “they are the flower of commodities, and admit of fantastic values being attached to them.”
The second recommendation reflects his individualist philosophy of transcendentalism, that is one should give something that reveals an aspect of the giver as a person, or as he phrased it “when a man’s biography is conveyed in his gift.”
So a poet gives a poem, a shepherd a lamb, and so on. We at the Online Library of Liberty therefore give you all another book, another idea, another quotation for the New Year. May it be a year of peace and liberty.
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
Poem by Wallace Stevens 1921
The material is a lightweight mesh that has just enough adhesive on both sides to make it tacky, so that when you place it on top of paper or linen, it stays put. Since it stays in place, there is no need for tape or securing the paper, linen, or mesh.
Since the mesh has holes, it makes tracing a snap. You have excellent visibility so even the smallest of details are captured. This makes tracing go very quickly, which is something I like because I have to trace a lot of patterns.
Once your design is traced onto the mesh, you always have it for re-use. Simply fold up the mesh and tuck it away in a plastic bag for storage and next use.
The other very cool thing about the mesh is that those little extra pieces that are left over from cutting can be attached to other small pieces because it is self adhesive, so there is virtually no waste!! Just overlap the smaller pieces and they stick together.
And unlike red-dot that gets icky and fuzzy after tracing on it a few times, this stays intact and lasts forever because of its durability. Plus, it does not ruin your markers the way red dot does. And it's less expensive. More durable and less expensive--I will never go back to red-dot!
The Art of Living is ...
Inspiration from nature's beauty, simple living, love, and peace.