IN COLLABORATION WITH CHAS. J. HERR
To Mr. and Mrs. Chas. J. Herr whose kind beneficence and
interest in the Great Out-of-Doors made this book possible;
these Wayside Sketches are affectionately dedicated
"I see the spectacle of morning from the hill tops over against
my house, from daybreak to sunrise, with emotions which an angel
might share. The long, slender bars of cloud float like golden
fishes in the crimson light. From the earth, as from a shore, I
look out into the silent sea. I seem to partake its rapid
transformations; the active enchantment reaches my dust, and I
dilate and conspire with the morning wind. Give me health and a
day and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.
"To the body and mind which have been cramped by anxious work or
company, Nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The
tradesman, the attorney, comes out of the din and craft of the
street and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In
the eternal calm he finds himself. The health of the eye seems
to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see
Scenery, as well as "the prophet," is "not without honor" save
in its own country. Therefore thousands of travellers are in
Europe today, gazing in open mouthed wonder at the Swiss Alps or
floating down the Rhine pretending to be enraptured, who never
gave a passing thought to the Adirondacks, or the incomparable
beauty of the Hudson, which perhaps lie at their very doors.
It is not our purpose to make the reader appreciate European
scenery less but American scenery more. "America first" should
be our slogan, whether in regard to political relations or to
travel. Many Americans do not know how to appreciate their own
natural scenery. Much has been written about the marvelous
scenery of western North America, but few have spoken a word of
praise in regard to the beauty of our eastern highlands.
The pleasure we take in travel as well as in literature is
enhanced by a knowledge of Nature. Thoreau, Burroughs, Bryant
and Muir - how much you would miss from their glowing pages
without some knowledge of the plants and birds. Truly did the
Indian say, "White man heap much book, little know."
To one who is at least partially familiar with the plant and
bird world, travel holds so much more of interest and enthusiasm
than it does to one who cannot tell mint from skunk cabbage, or
a sparrow from a thrush. Having made acquaintance with the
flowers and the birds, every journey will take on an added
interest because always there are unnumbered scenes to attract
our attention; which although observed many times, grow more
lovely at each new meeting.
We remember, in crossing the ocean, how few there were who found
little or no delight in the ever changing sea with its rich
dawns and sunsets or abundance of strange animal life.