The moonlight gave a poetical indefiniteness to the distant parts of the waters, and while the rapids were glancing in her beams, the river below the falls was black as night, save where the reflection of the sky gave it the appearance of a shield of blued steel. No gaping tourists loitered, eyeing with their glasses, or sketching on cards the hoary locks of the ancient river god. All tended to harmonize with the natural grandeur of the scene. I gazed long. I saw how here mutability and unchangeableness were united.
– Sarah Margaret Fuller in Summer On the Lakes, in 1843
Summer on the Lakes is a really good dive into life in America in 1843. As a primary text, it’s really great at expressing what must have been the unique thrill of discovering parts of America. It’s not without faults – there’s a lot of noble savage imagery that’s had to stomach. It’s worth skipping through that to digest beautiful moments like the passage above. Her ability to capture nature through words is really enjoyable.
She had some pretty cool relatives, too.
Maybe you’d like to contribute to the project’s indiegogo page. Also, give the actual piece a listen!