account of my travels


  i was always fond of visiting new scenes, and observing strange characters and manners. even when a mere child i began my travels, and made many tours of discovery into foreign parts and unknown regions of my native city, to the frequent alarm of my parents, and the emolument of the town-crier. as i grew into boyhood, i extended the range of my observations. my holiday afternoons were spent in rambles about the surrounding country. i made myself familiar with all its places famous in history or fable. i knew every spot where a murder or robbery had been committed, or a ghost seen. i visited the neighboring villages, and added greatly to my stock of knowledge, by noting their habits and customs, and conversing with their sages and great men. i even journeyed one long summer's day to the summit of the most distant hill, whence i stretched my eye over many a mile of terra incognita, and was astonished to find how vast a globe i inhabited.

  我总喜爱游览新奇美景,观赏奇风异俗。幼年之时,我便四处漫游,走过不少地方,深入故土的穷乡僻壤,作一番探索。为此,父母常感惊恐,不过公告传报员 [1]却受益不少。及至少年,观察范围更趋广泛。每逢假日下午,我便畅游四周。由此,历史上或传说中的著名地方,我无不知晓。哪里有过凶杀抢劫,哪里出现过幽灵,我均能一一告知。我去邻近的村庄,观察其风俗习惯,与贤明之士和不凡人物交谈,从而知识大增。在一个漫长的夏日,我甚至远走他乡,爬上一座高山,极目远眺,凝视尚未去过的陌生地带。目睹我所居住的地球广阔无垠,我惊叹不已。

  this rambling propensity strengthened with my years. books of voyages and travels became my passion, and in devouring their contents, i neglected the regular exercises of the school. how wistfully would i wander about the pier-heads in fine weather, and watch the parting ships, bound to distant climes- with what longing eyes would i gaze after their lessening sails, and waft myself in imagination to the ends of the earth!


  further reading and thinking, though they brought this vague inclination into more reasonable bounds, only served to make it more decided. i visited various parts of my own country; and had i been merely a lover of fine scenery, i should have felt little desire to seek elsewhere its gratification, for on no country have the charms of nature been more prodigally lavished. her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, with their bright aerial tints; her valleys, teeming with wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in their solitudes; her boundless plains, waving with spontaneous verdure; her broad deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its magnificence; her skies, kindling with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine;- no, never need an american look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery.



  active play or passive entertainment?


  our diurnal existence is divided into two phases, as distinct as day and night. we call them work and play. we work so many hours a day. and, when we have allowed the necessary minimum for such activities as eating and shopping, the rest we spend in various activities which are known as recreations, an elegant word which disguises the fact that we usually do not even play in our hours of leisure, but spend them in various forms of passive enjoyment or entertainment―not playing football but watching football matches;not acting but theatre-going;not walking but riding in a motor coach.


  we need to make, therefore, a hard-and-fast distinction not only between work and play but equally between active play and passive entertainment. it is, i suppose, the decline of active play―of amateur sport―and the enormous growth of purely receptive entertainment which has given rise to a sociological interest in the problem. if the greater part of the population, instead of indulging in sport, spend their hours of leisure viewing television programmers, there will inevitably be a decline in health and physique.


  we have to live art if we would be affected by art. we have to paint rather than look at paintings, to play instruments rather than go to concerts, to dance and sing and act ourselves, engaging all our senses in the ritual and discipline of the arts. then something may begin to happen to us:to work upon our bodies and soul.



  every day is a gift 拥抱现在

  my brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. "this", he said, "is not a slip. this is lingerie." he threw away the tissue and handed me the slip.


  it was exquisite, silk, handmade and decorated with a cobweb of lace. the price tag with a big figure on it was still attached.


  "jan bought this the first time we went to new york, at least 8 or 9 years ago. she never wore it. she was saving it for a special occasion.


  well, i guess this is the occasion.


  he took the slip from me and put it on the bed, his hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me, "don't ever save anything for a special occasion. every day you' re alive is a special occasion."


  i'm still thinking about his words and spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savour, not endure. i'm trying to recognize these moment now and cherish them.


  i'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first rose blossom… i wear my good blazer to the market if i feel like it. my theory is if i look prosperous, i can pay $28. 49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. i'm not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party going friends.


  "someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. if it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, i want to see and hear and do it now. i'm not sure what my sister would've done had she know that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted.


  i think she would have called family members and a few close friends. she might have called a few former friends to apologize, and mend fences for past quarrels. she would have gone out for a chinese dinner, her favorite food. i'm guessing.


  i'm trying very hard not to put off , hold back or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. and every morning when i open my eyes, i tell myself that every day, every minute, every breath truly, is... a gift from god.