“It is a complicated matter, this fellowship,” I said to myself.
So I jogged along feeling rather blue, marveling that those things which often seem so simple should be in reality so difficult.
But on such an afternoon as this no man could possibly remain long depressed. The moment I passed the straggling outskirts of the town and came to the open road, the light and glow of the countryside came in upon me with a newness and sweetness impossible to describe. Looking out across the wide fields I could see the vivid green of the young wheat upon the brown soil; in a distant high pasture the cows had been turned out to the freshening grass; a late pool glistened in the afternoon sunshine. And the crows were calling, and the robins had begun to come: and oh, the moist, cool freshness of the air! In the highest heaven (never so high as at this time of the year) floated a few gauzy clouds: the whole world was busy with spring!
I straightened up in my buggy and drew in a good breath. The mare, half startled, pricked up her ears and began to trot. She, too, felt the spring.
“Here,” I said aloud, “is where I belong. I am native to this place; of all these things I am a part.”
But presently—how one’s mind courses back, like some keen-scented hound, for lost trails—I began to think again of my friend’s lodges. And do you know, I had lost every trace of depression. The whole matter lay as clear in my mind, as little complicated, as the countryside which met my eye so openly.
“Why!” I exclaimed to myself, “I need not envy my friend’s lodges. I myself belong to the greatest of all fraternal orders. I am a member of the Universal Brotherhood of Men.”
It came to me so humorously as I sat there in my buggy that I could not help laughing aloud. And I was so deeply absorbed with the idea that I did not at first see the whiskery old man who was coming my way in a farm wagon. He looked at me curiously. As he passed, giving me half the road, I glanced up at him and called out cheerfully:
“How are you, Brother?”
You should have seen him look—and look—and look. After I had passed I glanced back. He had stopped his team, turned half way around in his high seat and was watching me—for he did not understand.
“Yes, my friend,” I said to myself, “I am intoxicated—with the wine of spring!”
I reflected upon his astonishment when I addressed him as “Brother.” A strange word! He did not recognize it. He actually suspected that he was not my Brother.
So I jogged onward thinking about my fraternity, and I don’t know when I have had more joy of an idea. It seemed so explanatory!
“I am glad,” I said to myself, “that I am a Member. I am sure the Masons have no such benefits to offer in their lodges as we have in ours. And we do not require money of farmers (who have little to pay). We will accept corn, or hen’s eggs, or a sandwich at the door, and as for a cheerful glance of the eye, it is for us the best of minted coin.”