Wednesdays With Words: Sylvan Solitude with Walter Scott

Since we began using Ambleside Online for our curriculum back in February, I've been doing my best to keep up with my oldest son's school reading...which has been a challenge to say the least!  But the richness of the books we are reading together keeps me coming back for more.  If you are homeschooling your kids, I strongly recommend that you try to learn along with them!  I have learned so much even in just the last six months!  

This week I've been working on getting caught up on my Ivanhoe.  Such a fantastic book!  While the story and characters are so deeply compelling, the aspect of this book that captivates me the most is Scott's beautiful descriptive passages of the English countryside.  

"Hundreds of broad short-stemmed oaks, which had witnessed perhaps the stately march of the Roman soldiery, had flung their broad, gnarled arms over a thick carpet of the most delicious green sward; in some places they were intermingled with beeches, hollies, and copsewood of various descriptions, so closely as totally to intercept the level beams of the sinking sun; in others they receded from each other, forming those long sweeping vistas, in the intricacy of which the eye delights to lose itself, while imagination considers them as the paths to yet wilder scenes of sylvan solitude." -Ivanhoe chapter 1
"The daylight dawned merrily upon the glades of the oak forest.  The green boughs glittered with all their dew.  The hind led her fawn from the covert of high fern to the more open walks of the green-wood; and no huntsman was there to watch or intercept the stately hart, as he paced at the head of the antler'd herd." -Ivanhoe chapter 32

Perhaps passages like these are especially attractive to me right now since we just returned a few weeks ago from a week long trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, one of the most beautiful, wild, places I have ever been.  Being there was soothing for my soul, getting away from all the busy-ness of home, school, and commitments.  I didn't take any school reading or do any school planning the whole time (even though I was tempted to bring along some new curricula to look over!)  I knew that what I needed...and what our whole family needed...was just a few days to relax, enjoy one another, and explore; to allow our imaginations to wander through "paths to yet wilder scenes of sylvan solitude."

 Sunrise over Lake Superior.

Sunrise over Lake Superior.

Another passage I wrote down recently was from naturalist John Muir:

"Few places in this world are more dangerous than home.  Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes.  They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action." -John Muir
 Taking in the "sylvan solitude" of Michigan's virgin pines.

Taking in the "sylvan solitude" of Michigan's virgin pines.

While we didn't exactly "try the mountain passes,"  we did hike virgin pine forests, swam in frigid Lake Superior, and some of us (not me!) jumped off a 30 foot cliff into a river.  It's hard to not feel invigorated and refreshed after such activities.  John Muir's words rang true in my heart as we experienced nature together.

Take the Next Step:

How about you?  What are you reading?

Has anything really grabbed your soul this week?

Have you noticed a change in your attitude after spending time outdoors?

"Wednesdays With Words" is a blog linkup hosted by ladydusk, where we get to share something we have read lately that was meaningful to us in some way.  If you have a moment, check it out on her blog.  You never might find some unexpected inspiration!

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