"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the day, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do."
The ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor...this is what it means to be human. To possess a will all its own, free to chose, free to alter life by the effortless unveiling of his or her own personality. This unique brand each soul is impregnated with has boundless potential and possibility, and is, at every moment, able to be attached to and be dispatched into time and space. The elevation of one's life and the life of another is, in Thoreau's words, the most encouraging fact he knows to exist.
Each soul is a sculptor and a sculpture. Each soul is a painter and a painting. Each poetic soul can, through conscious endeavor, cause people to experience life differently. This is where poetic life becomes more than just a scruple over semantics. It is not the difference between living and dying; it is the difference between living and life. The difference between existence and presence. We are called to exercise dominion over the earth, that is to nurture life, to tend it and be the husbandman of its vineyard. The quality of the wine squeezed out of each grape is directly impacted by how delicate we are in our treatment of its emerging growth. This is the conscious effort of which he speaks.
I love to think of myself as an artist and a poet as it relates to life. It impacts how I encounter people and drastically effects the medium through which I see life. I am more alert to its subtle nuances. More keenly tuned into its rough edges and soft contours. More alive to its taste and texture.
But it is more than how life is interpreted and absorbed by my own soul. It is even more amazing to imagine that I can change the course of history with my execution of life, that I can change the world, expanding love and life...or maybe more poignantly, I can change someone world by the unique poetic combination of my words, by the custom carving of life by my artistic chisel. I know of no greater power than that of an artist, no greater passion than that of a poet.