David Grayson – an old friend, lost….now found!
Many years ago, I discovered a small book called “The Countryman’s Year”, written by David Grayson. It’s a day book, a journal, of a man’s life on his Connecticut farm in the 1930s.
David Grayson is a pen name for Ray Stannard Baker – a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He wrote this book in his later years. Although he was living with a partner, s/he’s not mentioned once, although he does say “we” a lot. I’m not sure we’d have much in common, Baker and I, except I’m sure that we’d have quite a neighborly friendship.
I misplaced this small treasure, during the last of our 7 moves in as many years. A week ago I re-discovered it, on a shelf I’ve walked past a thousand times. A joy!
The beauty of this little book is that it reminds us how the world doesn’t change much. His days, in rural Connecticut, aren’t that different from ours, here in Maryland, more than 75 years later. And his thoughts are certainly as relevant today as any time.
Here’s a bit from a January day in the early 1930s:
“This I know well, that the chief part of life consists of small things. If we have not learned how to live with them and enjoy them, we have not learned how to live. It is strange how competently, even nobly, many men will ride out the great storms of sorrow and tragedy, who are wrecked upon the little reefs that litter the calm waters of their daily lives.
Blessed is the man who can enjoy the small things, the common beauties: the little day-by-day events, sunshine on the fields, birds on the bough, breakfast, dinner, supper: the daily paper on the porch, a friend passing by. So many people who go afield for enjoyment leave it behind them at home.”
And “This idea, this vision, this bit of life, seems interesting to me, somehow beautiful. I will put it in my Book. Why not? What else have I?”
Indeed. And I realize that it is Grayson, along with Sue Hubbell, William Least Heat Moon and others, who inspired me to build my journal, my day book, into this blog. If he were alive today, Grayson would most likely do the same.
And that gives me a definite feeling of being in great company as I concern myself with the small things in life.