Thursday, November 10, 2011

Less ambition than Bronson Alcott

I am no Alcott scholar.  But I have, of late, been spending some time with him.  I never thought even he could make me look like a slacker.
The shadow of a family of Alcotts falls across my path on a regular basis.  Very near where I live is the home they filled with their daughters, the school they filled with their pupils, and the commune they filled with their misguided ambitions.

Here to the hills above Shirley, where they could literally look down upon Shakers, trooped the Transcendentalists, prepared to live off the fat of the land, but failing to remember they did not know how to do that.  Or that it was not planting season.  Make no mistake, we would define them as hippies.  We would define Thoreau as a drop-out.  One man’s “innovative risk” is another man’s misguided folly.

I think we are not using “folly” enough.  (These are the small ambitions I embrace in a day.)

I’ve certainly done the big changes: I’ve moved halfway across country.  I’ve moved back.  I’ve walked away from a career.  I’ve bought the house.  All rather accidental, I have to admit, even though I plowed through them with purpose.  But I am not much of a risk-taker. I am not going to start a seminary for children – then integrate it. I am not going to pack my family off to the wilderness, then convince them we can run a farm without animals.

You know that feeling you get that you just need to change your life?  I’ve read about it.  I mean, I’ve heard people talk about it.  I’ve heard people change their haircut.  That sounds like madness.

I’m full of ideas – ideas are easy.  But moments pass.  And one of the comforts of busy-ness is that you never have the opportunity to actually do anything.  Oh, I’m onto me all right.  When I say I can’t get out of my own way, that’s a fair summation.  I am not even sure where this essay goes, much less where it ends.  It was just an another idea that occurred to me.  I might only be typing now to fill a respectable sized post, and to fulfill another obligation that is only a marginal accomplishment.

I probably shouldn’t try to write on weekdays.
See how easy rationalizing is?

Alcott may very well have been irrational.  He may have been bipolar.  Certainly delusional.  But apparently never afraid.

Sound financial backing probably didn’t hurt either.

Hope you're enjoying National Blogpost Month.
Here's another NaBloPoMo participant for you to enjoy.


  1. I actually think these little rambles are my favorites. I feel the need to make tea and read again. Oh, and TOTALLY agree about the underuse of "folly." I share your ambition. It's the small, but important things in life.

  2. Sometimes the only "change" we can make IS a different haircut. Sometimes it's new curtains or a bedspread or moving the furniture around. Sometimes it's going to a place you've never been before for a visit. Big changes take thought, planning and above all courage to face the unknown. I think I'd rather move the furniture around and you know how often that gets done! M


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