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way of looking at things kindles the imagination and touches the sentiments more than does this minute way of the specialist. The nature that Scott gives us is like the air and the water that all may absorb, while what the specialist gives us is more like some particular element or substance that only the few can appropriate. But Scott had his specialties too, the specialties of the sportsman; he was the first to see the hare's eyes as she sat in her form, and he knew the ways of grouse, and pheasants, and trout. The ideal observer turns the enthusiasm of the sportsman into the channels of natural history, and brings home a finer game than ever fell to shot or bullet. He too has an eye for the fox and the rabbit and the migrating waterfowl, but he sees them with loving and not with murderous eyes.
So far as seeing things is an art, it is the art of keeping your eyes and ears open. The art of nature is all in the direction of concealment. The birds, the animals, all the wild creatures, for the most part try to elude your observation. The art of the bird is to hide her nest; the art of the game you are in quest of is to make itself invisible. The flower seeks to attract the bee and the moth by its color and perfume, because they are of service to it; but I presume it would hide from the excursionists and the picnickers if it could, because they extirpate it. Power of attention and a mind sensitive to outward objects, in these lies the secret of seeing things. Can you bring all your faculties to the front, like a house with many faces at the doors and windows; or do you live retired within yourself, shut up in your own meditations ? The thinker puts all the powers of his mind in reflection: the observer puts all the powers of his mind in perception; every faculty is directed outward; the whole mind sees through the eye and hears through the ear. He has an objective turn of mind as opposed to a subjective. A person with the latter turn of mind sees little. If you are occupied with your own thoughts you may go through a museum of curiosities and observe nothing.
Of course one's power of observation may be cultivated as well as anything else. The sense of seeing and hearing may be quickened and trained as well as the sense of touch. Blind persons come to be marvelously acute in their powers of touch. Their feet find the path and keep it. They come to know the lay of the land through this sense, and recognize the roads and surfaces they have once traveled over. Helen Keller reads your
speech by putting her hand upon your lips, and is also thrilled by the music of an instrument by means of her touch. The perceptions of school children should be trained as well as their powers of reflection and memory. A teacher in Connecticut, Miss Aiken,- whose work on mind training I commend to all teachers,— has hit upon a simple and ingenious method of doing this. She has a revolving blackboard upon which she writes va. rious figures, numbers, words, sentences, which she exposes to the view of the class for one or two or three seconds as the case may be, and then asks them to copy or repeat what was written. In time they become astonishingly quick, especially the girls, and can take in a multitude of things at a glance. Detectives, I am told, are trained after a similar method; a man is led quickly by a show window, for instance, and asked to name and describe the objects he saw there. Life itself is of course more or less a school of this kind, but the power of concentrated attention in most persons needs stimulating. Here comes in the benefit of manual training schools. To do a thing, to make something, the powers of the mind must be focused. A boy in building a boat will get something that all the books in the world cannot give him. The concrete, the definite, the discipline of real things, the educational values that lie here, are not enough appreciated.
The book of nature is like a page written over or printed upon with different sized characters and in many different languages, interlined and cross-lined, and with a great variety of marginal notes and references. There is coarse print and fine print; there are obscure signs and hieroglyphics. We all read the large type more or less appreciatively, but only the students and lovers of nature read the fine lines and the footnotes. It is a book which he reads best who goes most slowly or even tarries long by the way. He who runs may read some things. We may take in the general features of the sky, plain, and river from the express train, but only the pedestrian, the saunterer, with eyes in his head and love in his heart, turns every leaf and peruses every line. One man sees only the migrating waterfowls and the larger birds of the air; another sees the passing kinglets and hurrying warblers as well. For my part, my delight is to linger long over each page of this marvelous record, and to dwell fondly upon its most obscure text.
I take pleasure in noting the minute things about me. I am interested even in the ways of the wild bees and in all the little dramas and tragedies that occur in field and wood. One June day, in my walk, as I crossed a rather dry, high-lying field, my attention was attracted by small mounds of fresh earth all over the ground, scarcely more than a handful in each. On looking closely I saw that in the middle of each mound there was a hole not quite so large as a lead pencil. Now, I had never observed these mounds before, and my curiosity was aroused. “Here is some fine print,” I said, “that I have overlooked.” So I set to work to try to read it; I waited for a sign of life. Presently I saw here and there a bee hovering about over the mounds. It looked like the honeybee, only less pronounced in color and manner. One of them alighted on one of the mounds near me, and was about to disappear in the hole in the centre when I caught it in my hand. Though it stung me, I retained it and looked it over, and in the process was stung several times; but the pain was slight. I saw it was one of our native wild bees, cousin to the leaf rollers, that build their nests under stones and in decayed fence-rails. (In Packard I found it described under the name of Andrena.) Then I inserted a small weed-stalk into one of the holes, and, with a trowel I carried, proceeded to dig out the nest. The hole was about a foot deep; at the bottom of it I found a little semi-transparent, membranous sac or cell, a little larger than that of the honeybee; in this sac was a little pellet of yellow pollen - a loaf of bread for the young grub when the egg should have hatched. I explored other nests and found them all the same. This discovery was not a great addi. tion to my sum of natural knowledge, but it was something. Now when I see the signs in a field I know what they mean; they indicate the tiny earthen cradles of Andrena.
Near by I chanced to spy a large hole in the turf, with no mound of soil about it. I could put the end of my little finger into it. I peered down, and saw the gleam of two small, beadlike eyes. I knew it to be the den of the woif spider. Was she waiting for some blundering insect to tumble in? I say she, because the real ogre among the spiders is the female. The male is small and of little consequence. A few days later I paused by this den again and saw the members of the Ogress scattered about her own door. Had some insect Jack the Giant-killer been there, or had a still more formidable ogress, the sand hornet, dragged her forth and carried away her limbless body to her den in the bank? What the wolf spider does with the earth it excavates in making its den is a mystery. There is no sign of it anywhere about. Does it force its way down by pushing the soil to one side and packing it there firmly? The entrance to the hole usually has a slight rim or hem to keep the edge from crumbling in.
As it happened, I chanced upon another interesting footnote that very day. I was on my way to a muck swamp in the woods to see if the showy lady's slipper was in bloom. Just on the margin of the swamp, in the deep shade of the hemlocks, my eye took note of some small, unshapely creature crawling hurriedly over the ground. I stooped down, and saw it was a large species of the moth just out of its case, and in a great hurry to find a suitable place in which to hang itself up and give its wings a chance to unfold before the air dried them. I thrust a small twig in its way, which it instantly seized upon. I lifted it gently, carried it to drier ground, and fixed the stick in the fork of a tree, so that the moth hung free a few feet from the ground. Its body was distended nearly to the size of one's little finger, surmounted by wings that were so crumpled and stubby that they seemed quite rudimentary. The creature evidently knew what it wanted, and knew the importance of haste. Instantly these rude, stubby wings began to grow. It was a slow process, but one could see the change from minute to minute. As the wings expanded the body contracted. By some kind of pumping arrangement air was being forced from a reservoir in the one into the tubes of the other. The wings were not really growing, as they at first seemed to be, but they were unfolding and expanding under this pneumatic pressure from the body. In the course of about half an hour the process was completed, and the winged creature hung there in all its full-fledged beauty. Its color was checked black and white like a loon's back, but its name I know not. My chief interest in it, aside from the interest we feel in any new form of life, arose from the creature's extreme anxiety to reach a perch where it could unfold its wings. A little delay would doubtless have been fatal to it. I wonder how many human geniuses are hatched whose wings are blighted by some accident or untoward circumstance ? Or do the wings of genius always unfold, no matter what the environment may be ?
One seldom takes a walk without encountering some of this fine print on nature's page. Now it is a little yellowish-white moth that spreads itself upon the middle of a leaf and imitates the droppings of birds; or it is the young cicadas working up out of the ground, and in the damp, cool places building little chimneys or tubes above the surface to get more warmth and hasten their development; or it is a wood newt gorging a tree cricket, or a little snake gorging the newt, or a bird song with some striking peculiarity,- a strange defect or a rare excellence. Now it is a shrike impaling his victim, or blue jays mocking and teasing a little hawk and dropping quickly into the branches to avoid his angry blows, or a robin hustling a cuckoo out of the tree where her nest is, or a vireo driving away a cowbird, or the partridge blustering about your feet till her young are hid. den. One October morning I was walking along the road on the edge of the woods, when I came into a gentle shower of butternuts; one of them struck my hat brim. I paused and looked about me; here one fell, there another, yonder a third. There was no wind blowing, and I wondered what was loosening the butternuts. Turning my attention to the top of the tree I soon saw the explanation: a red squirrel was at work gathering his harvest. He would seize a nut, give it a little twist, when down it would come; then he would dart to another and another. Further along I found where he had covered the ground with chestnut burs; he could not wait for the frost and the winds; he knew the burs would dry and open upon the ground, and he knew the bitter covering of the butternuts would soon fall away from the nuts.
There are three things that doubtless happen near me each season that I have never yet seen,- the toad casting its skin, the snake swallowing its young, and the larvæ of the moth and butterfly constructing their abodes. It is a moot question whether or not the snake does swallow its young, but if there is no other good reason for it, may they not retreat into their mother's stomach to feed ? How else are they to be nourished ? That the moth larvæ can weave its own cocoon and attach it to a twig seems more incredible. Yesterday in my walk I found a firm, silver-gray cocoon, about two inches long and shaped like an Egyptian mummy (probably Cynthia), suspended from a branch of a bush by a narrow, stout ribbon twice as long as itself. The fastening was woven around the limb, upon which it turned as if it grew there. I would have given something to have seen the creature perform this feat, and then incase itself so snugly in the silken shroud at the end of this tether. By swinging free