Since returning from my recent trip to Scotland, I've been ingesting Stevenson's essays, Burns's poetry, and Johnson's and Boswell's accounts of visiting the Hebridean Isles, while trying to turn some of my journal from the trip into an essay. I just came across these lines from Stevenson's "Walking Tours" that make me want to just stop writing and quote them over and over:
We are in such haste to be doing, to be writing, to be gathering gear, to make our voice audible a moment in the derisive silence of eternity, that we forget that one thing, of which these are but the parts - namely, to live. We fall in love, we drink hard, we run to and fro upon the earth like frightened sheep. And now you are to ask yourself if, when all is done, you would not have been better to sit by the fire at home, and be happy thinking. To sit still and contemplate, - to remember the faces of women without desire, to be pleased by the great deeds of men without envy, to be everything and everywhere in sympathy, and yet content to remain where and what you are - is not this to know both wisdom and virtue, and to dwell with happiness?