I think that if we examine our lives, we will find that most good has come to us from the few loyalties, and a few discoveries made many generations before we were born, which must always be made anew. There too may sometimes appear to come by chance, but in the infinite web of things and events chance must be something different from what we think it to be. To comprehend that is not given to us, and to think of it is to recognize a mystery, and to acknowledge the necessity of faith. As I look back on the part of the mystery which is my own life, my own fable, what I am most aware of is that we receive more than we can ever give; we receive it from the past, on which we draw with every breath...
The language above was adapted slightly for use in the Preface of Kathleen Norris’s Dakota, A Spiritual Geography. The adaption provided a switch to the gender-neutral ‘we’ from the not-so-neutral ‘he’. The full quote and original language can be found in the source link.
Edwin Muir (15 May 1887 – 3 January 1959) was a Scottish Orcadian poet, novelist and translator, born on a farm in Deerness. He is remembered for his deeply felt and vivid poetry in plain language with few stylistic preoccupations.
Editor’s Note: Edwin Muir should not be confused with John Muir, the naturalist, author, and environmental philosopher.
originally published on The Minot Voice: December 11, 2017