CHARLES FRANKLIN CARTER,
in Some By-Ways of California.
There is what may be called a sense of the sea, which is indefinable. No lesser body of water, no other aspect of Nature affords this. It is in the air, like a touch of autumn, and we know it as much through feeling as through seeing. The coast is saturated for some distance inland with this presence of the sea, much as the beach is soaked with salt water. It is music and poetry to the soul and as elusive as they, wrapping us in dreams and yielding fugitive glimpses of that which we may never grasp, but which skirts, like a beautiful phantom, the mind’s horizon. Like music, it is an opiate, and unlocks for us new states of mind in which we wander, as in halls of alabaster and mother-of-pearl, but where, alas, we may not linger. We can as readily sound the ocean as fathom the feelings it inspires. It is too deep for thought. As often as the sea speaks to us of the birth of Venus and of Joy, so also does it remind of Prometheus bound and the thrall of Nature.
STANTON DAVIS KIRKHAM,
in In the Open.
The morning breeze with breath of rose
Steals from the dawn and softly blows
Beneath the lintel, where is hung
My little bell with winged tongue;
Steals from the dawn, that it may be
An oracle of peace to me;
For hark! athwart my fitful dreams
There mingles with the Orient beams
A wakening psalm of tinkling bell:
“God brings the day, and all is well.”
CLIFFORD HOWARD, in The Wind Bell.
CATCHING A SWORDFISH.
The swordfish was not disturbed by reflections of any kind. Of an uncertain and vicious temper it was annoyed, then maddened by being held by something it could not see, and dropping into the water it dashed away in blind fear and fury, still feeling the strange, uncanny check which seemed to follow it as a sheet of foam. Cutting the water one hundred, two hundred feet, it shot ahead with the speed of light, then still held, still in the toils, it again sprang into the air with frenzied shake and twist, whirling itself from side to side, striking terrific blows in search of the invisible enemy. Falling, the swordfish plunged downward, and reached two hundred feet below the surface and the bottom, then turned, and rose with a mighty rush, going high into the air again, whirling itself completely over in its madness, so that it fell upon its back, beating the sea into a maelstrom of foam and spume, in its blind and savage fury.
CHARLES FREDERICK HOLDER,
in Big Game at Sea.
One is disposed to put “climate” in the plural when writing of so large a state as California and one so wonderfully endowed with conditions which make health, comfort and beauty in all seasons. Its great length of coast-line and its mountain ranges irregularly paralleling that, offer a wealth of resource in varying temperature, altitudes, shelter from the sea breezes or exposure to them, perhaps unequaled by any state in the union, or indeed by any country in the world.