From “Thoreau,” to the kitchen, to you & me (thanks, Ryan!)

Posted By on November 20, 2013



One of the awesome things about living in a small community on a small island with small numbers of people with large hearts is the wonderful gifts we give each other.

On San Juan Island off the coast of Washington (the state, not the city) & just across the water from Victoria (the city, not the queen), lives my good & dear friend Ryan Browne, who shared this little tale about something he discovered when he came rolling home one day. While I’m pretty sure “Thoreau” is a metaphorical nom d’plume here (pretty sure he didn’t know about plastic bowls), it’s a sweet bit of writing for Ryan, who I think of as a modern-day Thoreau, in his own right.

Here’s more, from Ryan:

Sorry this took so long to write…

To the anonymous person who left this Thoreau poem, handwritten on a cedar shingle on my kitchen counter months ago: YOU are the BEST kind of person..

You truly made my day, and have done so each and every time that I look upon this poem. (which is now hanging in my kitchen).

You inspire me to pay it forward – to take a little bit of time out of each day to give appreciation, thoughtfulness, and inspiration to others, while expecting nothing in return. It’s these little things in life that give me sustenance while this beautiful, crazy planet seems to be spinning so fast.

Found in the kitchen…

Whoever you are, keep on shining, you wonderful human.. The world needs you now more than ever.

In museums there are baskets
and blankets and tapestries
bowls and jewelry
things we used to fashion
between our hands.

Is it the item or the method
that is on display?

Craft: The skilled practice
of a practical occupation
is becoming quaint. A hobby
instead of the soul’s work.
Machines stamp out plastic bowls
to replace the baskets.
That will be our legacy.

Will museums ever be big enough
for all the things we have forgotten?
Or all the useless stuff we create?
They have become our elders
the teachers of our children
full of silent memories
desecrated cultures
now empty objects once made for a purpose.

But there is a renaissance
and those who remember
with their eyes open
will create our mysteries
and we will become again
the makers and the givers
the dancers instead of soldiers
dreamers instead of believers
inventors instead of destroyers.

Our hearts,
Which do not shout
And are hard to hear
over the hum of machines.

We have been outside the garden
for so long
We have forgotten what it means
to grow.
Our florescent sun
has burned a hole through the center
of our hearts
and we have become afraid
of the substance of ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau (sic)

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