学习啦 鸿宇 2016-07-23 17:32:47
There is a hill near my home that I often climb at night. The noise of the city is a far-off murmur. In the hush of dark I share the cheerfulness of crickets and the confidence of owls. But it is the drama of the moonrise that I come to see. For that restores in me a quiet and clarity that the city spends too freely.
From this hill I have watched many moons rise. Each one had its own mood. There have been broad, confident harvest moons in autumn; shy, misty moons in spring; lonely, white winter moons rising into the utter silence of an ink-black sky and smoke-smudged orange moons over the dry fields of summer. Each, like fine music, excited my heart and then calmed my soul.
But we, who live indoors, have lost contact with the moon. The glare of street lights and the dust of pollution veil the night sky. Though men have walked on the moon, it grows less familiar. Few of us can say what time the moon will rise tonight.
Still, it tugs at our minds.
If we unexpectedly encounter the full moon, huge and yellow over the horizon, we are helpless but to stare back at its commanding presence. And the moon has gifts to bestow upon those who watch.
I learned about its gifts one July evening in the mountains. My car had mysteriously stalled, and I was stranded and alone. The sun had set, and I was watching what seemed to be the bright-orange glow of a forest fire beyond a ridge to the east. Suddenly, the ridge itself seemed to burst into flame. Then, the rising moon, huge and red and grotesquely misshapen by the dust and sweat of the summer atmosphere, loomed up out of the woods. Distorted thus by the hot breath of earth, the moon seemed ill-tempered and imperfect. Dogs at nearby farmhouse barked nervously, as if this strange light had wakened evil spirits in the weeds.
But as the moon lifted off the ridge it gathered firmness and authority. Its complexion changed from red, to orange, to gold, to impassive yellow. It seemed to draw light out of the darkening earth, for as it rose, the hills and valleys below grew dimmer. By the time the moon stood clear of the horizon, full-chested and round and of the colour of ivory, the valleys were deep shadows in the landscape. The dogs, reassured that this was the familiar moon, stopped barking. And all at once I felt a confidence and joy close to laughter.
The drama took an hour. Moonrise is slow and serried with subtleties. To watch it, we must slip into an older, more patient sense of time.
To watch the moon move inflexibly higher is to find an unusual stillness within ourselves. Our imaginations become aware of the vast distance of space, the immensity of the earth and the huge improbability of our own existence. We feel small but privileged.
Moonlight shows us none of life’s harder edges. Hillsides seem silken and silvery, the oceans still and blue in its light. In moonlight we become less calculating, more drawn to our feelings.
Between the preparation and the work,the apprenticeship and the actual dealing with a task or an art,there comes, in the experience of many young men,a period of uncertainty and wandering which is often misunderstood and counted as time wasted,when it is, in fact, a period rich in full and free development.
It is as natural for ardent and courageous youth to wish to know what is in life, what it means, and what it holds for its children,as for a child to reach for and search the things that surround and attract it.Behind every real worker in the world is a real man, and a man has a right to know the conditions under which he must live,and the choices of knowledge, power, and activity which are offered him.In the education of many men and women, therefore, there comes the year of wandering;the experience of traveling from knowledge to knowledge and from occupation to occupation.
The forces which go to the making of a powerful man can rarely be adjusted and blended without some disturbance of relations and conditions.This disturbance is sometimes injurious, because it affects the moral foundations upon which character rests;and for this reason the significance of the experience in its relation to development ought to be sympathetically studied.The birth of the imagination and of the passions, the perception of the richness of life,and the consciousness of the possession of the power to master and use that wealth, create a critical moment in the history of youth,—a moment richer in possibilities of all kinds than comes at any later period.
Agitation and ferment of soul are inevitable in that wonderful moment.There are times when agitation is as normal as is self-control at other and less critical times.The year of wandering is not a manifestation of aimlessness, but of aspiration,and that in its ferment and uncertainty youth is often guided to and finally prepared for its task.
Last week, my granddaughter started kindergarten, and, as is conventional, I wished her success. I was lying. What I actually wish for her is failure. I believe in the power of failure.
Success is boring. Success is proving that you can do something that you already know you can do, or doing something correctly the first time, which can often be a problematical victory. First-time success is usually a fluke. First-time failure, by contrast, is expected; it is the natural order of things.
Failure is how we learn. I have been told of an African phrase describing a good cook as "she who has broken many pots." If you've spent enough time in the kitchen to have broken a lot of pots, probably you know a fair amount about cooking. I once had a late dinner with a group of chefs, and they spent time comparing knife wounds and burn scars. They knew how much credibility their failures gave them.
I earn my living by writing a daily newspaper column. Each week I am aware that one column is going to be the worst column of the week. I don't set out to write it; I try my best every day. Still, every week, one column is inferior to the others, sometimes spectacularly so.
I have learned to cherish that column. A successful column usually means that I am treading on familiar ground, going with the tricks that work, preaching to the choir or dressing up popular sentiments in fancy words. Often in my inferior columns, I am trying to pull off something I've never done before, something I'm not even sure can be done.
My younger daughter is a trapeze artist. She spent three years putting together an act. She did it successfully for years with the Cirque du Soleil. There was no reason for her to change the act—but she did anyway. She said she was no longer learning anything new and she was bored; and if she was bored, there was no point in subjecting her body to all that stress. So she changed the act. She risked failure and profound public embarrassment in order to feed her soul. And if she can do that 15 feet in the air, we all should be able to do it.
My granddaughter is a perfectionist, probably too much of one. She will feel her failures, and I will want to comfort her. But I will also, I hope, remind her of what she learned, and how she can do whatever it is better next time. I probably won't tell her that failure is a good thing, because that's not a lesson you can learn when you're five. I hope I can tell her, though, that it's not the end of the world. Indeed, with luck, it is the beginning.
我小女儿是一名吊杠演员。她用三年的时间编排了一段表演，跟Cirque du Soleil(太阳马戏团)一起多年来都非常成功。应该说没有理由换掉这段表演—但是她最终还是换了。她说，她没有再学到新东西，腻烦了。既然她已经腻烦了，继续让她的躯体承受那些压力也就不再有任何意义。因此她更换了那段表演。为了满足自己的灵魂，她甘愿承受失败的风险，甘愿承受不被观众接受的尴尬处境。但如果她在15英尺的高空中能完成尝试的话，那我们每个人也都会有能力去尝试新事物。