Vegan Spring Fever: Thoreau, Emerson, and Ramblings

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Vegan Spring Fever – is that even a thing?  Maybe you recognize the symptoms.  It’s new to me, but there’s no question that my temperature is rising and so are my sights.  Are yours?

Vegan Spring Fever TreesOne day it just happens.  You’re out in the morning sun.  You look around, and you start to notice things – little things, tiny things, things that couldn’t possibly matter to anyone else, but they do to you.  You notice that the grass is now just exactly that shade of early spring green.  It’s indescribable, but you know it when you see it.  The sun is shining just that little bit brighter.  No one else notices, but you do.  The days are just that extra amount longer.  The sun’s coming up just a fraction earlier, and for some reason you’ve been waking up just in time to see it.  And the sun’s setting just a little later, enough so that you can plant your potatoes after supper.

The Only Prescription is More Springtime

This is vegan spring fever, I think.  Perhaps you don’t have to be a vegan to feel it – but it helps.  It infected me to my core a day or two ago when I was out for the morning walk around the farm with our dogs, Daisy and Scout.  Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you this, but when I got the fever, the thoughts and feelings and philosophizing about Spring started to erupt out of me in a torrent.  Thoughts like these:

  • Springtime is so full of possibility. Everything seems not only possible, but necessary. There’s nothing you can’t do, and there are so many things you want to do and feel capable of doing.
  • There is potential in every leaf bud and every bird and every blade of grass – and in you.  The bird song sounds musical.  The barren landscape suddenly, inexplicably seems full, and you wonder, “When did that happen? Where did all this come from?” Then you realize it was always there, latent, waiting for the right time to burst forth, to explode on the scene, to have its moment in the sun, in the springtime.  And you feel your own latent talents ready to emerge.
  • You have the urge, the calling, to paint and draw and plant, and create everything anew – things you never conceived before just now.
  • ‘Tis the time to go places, see things, do things, to be that which you so want to be.  You think about creating a “To Be” list to displace your “To Do” list.
  • You start a “To Go” list to think about travels far and near and wide, but also to remind yourself to expunge those things that need to go, that no longer have a place in your life or mind.
  • You have that special spring energy and that desire to do it all – and you do.  You plant those spring veggies in Vegan Spring Fever Seeds Sproutingthe dirt – the peas, the carrots, the lettuce, the radishes plus that one extra thing more that you’ve been wanting to try for ages.
  • Spring is when you start your tomato and pepper seeds in the house and place them in the windowsill – lovingly creating a little home for them in a little cell of soil in a simple plastic tray.  Maybe it takes you back to kindergarten when you planted your first tomato seed in a Dixie cup, and watched … and waited … and waited – half expecting it to pop right out of the soil.  You had to wait a few days or a week, but it did finnnaaaaallly pop its head out of the ground.  And you were amazed.  Still are.  You did that.  Still do.
  • You happen across a robin’s nest with three beautiful, small, blue eggs.  They transport you back to the first ones you ever saw – nestled in a corner windowsill in your neighbor’s shed.  You were 5, or maybe 6.  You saw those eggs and just stared at them in wonder.  They were so beautiful, so blue, and so small.  How could a big robin come out of something so small.  Every morning, you ran to the nest to look at them again.  And then, one day, you came and the egg shells were broken.  The little robins had hatched, and there they were.  So small, so helpless.  And you were amazed again.  Amazed – not in the sense that kids use now to describe a t-shirt or new jeans as amazing – but rather, true wonder that caused you to hold your breath involuntarily.  The amazement of really seeing something you never saw before, something you never thought possible.  Sort of like this new Spring – when all things are new, when all things are possible, and when you just might amaze yourself.
  • Now you feel compelled to pull Walden (by Thoreau) or Self-Reliance (by Emerson) off the shelf.  You have to be in the right frame of mind to read them, and now you are.  You need to be open to exhortation, open to inspiration, open to the mind-altering substances that are the words on those pages.  When you’re ready, really ready, you can hear and instill and internalize words like:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Thoreau


“Insist on yourself; never imitate… Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare?  Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton?  Every great [hu]man is unique… Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare.  Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.” – Emerson

You can’t fall out of bed some dismal December morning and decide to read something like that.  It needs to be Spring.  The time needs to be right for you to ACT.  If you can read

“Life only avails, not the having lived.  Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim.” – Emerson

and not want to jump into action, you better check your pulse because you might not have one.  And you don’t need “An Emerson Companion” or “Complete Guide to Thoreau” to read them.  In fact, both men would shudder in disbelief at the notion of someone else telling you what to think about their writings.  Love them, hate them, or baffled by them, you’re right.

Let’s Recite the Non-Conformist’s Oath

Being honest, especially with yourself, gives you integrity.  And integrity gives you power and strength – the kind you need to be vegan, to cross the main stream at right angles.  And in the Spring, you feel the energy, the life inside yourself, to do those things that are hard – but necessary – to be true to yourself, to be true to the calling that brought yourself to the doorstep of veganism, and to recall the courage that impelled you to step forward.  Maybe it was for your health, or for animals, or for our environment.  You were called and you came.  Continue.  Continue now because your heart and your mind tells you the truth, that you are doing the right thing – even though it was and is not the easy thing or the conventional thing.

“Whoso would be a [hu]man must be a nonconformist.” – Emerson

It’s not everybody’s thing.  But it is your thing.  You have the Spring with all its portent and potential within you.  You have the ability to nurture and grow that seed which you have started.  You will be battered and blown and bent by the wind and rain of adversity and others’ opinions.  But you are resilient.  You will bend back and grow taller and stronger still.  You will reach up and out and provide shelter to others who are just beginning to grow.  You will look skyward and see the sun and feel its warmth.  You will enjoy the blue skies that are sure to come.  All because you were .. and are … and will be true to your own thought, to your own mind, and to your own self.

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