Who are your contemporaries? Who belongs to the same ‘age’ as you do? We all have connections to those who are as enthusiastic as we are about certain things. Do they have to exist, have their breath, in the same lifetime as we do? I don’t think so. From Eduardo Galeano in The book of Embraces:
But there is a Chinese who, thousands of years ago, wrote a poem about a goatherd who is far from his beloved, and yet can hear in the middle of the night, in the middle of the snow, the sound of her comb running through her hair. And reading this distant poem, Juan finds that yes, these people-the poet, the goatherd and the woman-are truly his contemporaries.
I feel this kind of connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I could, I’d send her a note to thank her for putting words to the feelings I have in my heart about the prairie and family and living a good life. I’d write to the Psalmist as well, for the wrenching emotion-joy, sorrow, anger, repentance- that he captures on the pages of my daily reading. There are so many whose words resonate with me! Willa Cather would be on my list. From O Pioneers!:
A mist of fine snowflakes was curling and eddying about the cluster of low drab buildings huddled on the gray prairie, under a gray sky. The dwelling-houses were set about haphazard on the tough prairie sod; some of them looked as if they had been moved in overnight, and others as if they were straying off by themselves, headed straight for the open plain.
And Emily Dickinson:
That perches in the soul –And sings the tune without the words –And never stops – at all –