Quest and Questionings

My thoughts were not at rest. I visited the vast solitudes of the mountains. Majestic peaks mounted into the clouds. They stood rock-ribbed and ancient, seemingly able to defy victoriously the merciless anger of the tempests and the inappeasable hunger of time. Below were mighty ravines where wild torrents had once dashed like the waves of an impetuous sea. Far away I saw a solitary eagle sailing in a slow circle, and I cried. "Surely, here one might dwell in peaceful hermitage, undisturbed by the warring passions of his race; and thus find peace!"

But my thought was answered, as if some phantom of the mountains had spoken: "No sustenance is here for human happiness. We arose through fierce agonies of fire and flame. Even our most precious metals and jewels are the children of indescribable turmoil. We seem to be at peace: but within us are the unquenchable fires of the past. The only history we can offer to human thought is that of chaotic violence, the only prophecy we can furnish is final demolition. We have no antidote for human misery, nor can all our treasures purchase even an anodyne. Unsatisfied ambitions, despairing affections, remorseful memories may live within these solitudes as elsewhere."

Sorrowfully I pursued my quest. On fertile plains I saw thousands of human habitations, surrounded with green pastures and coming harvests. I saw how adventurous pioneers, through years of persevering toil and patient privation, had slowly accumulated comfortable homes. I saw the rewards of thrift and industry on all sides. I saw a vast empire which had been redeemed from savagery only a few decades, now blossoming into affluence. I saw busy towns and cities everywhere rising into being as if by the wave of a wizard's wand. I saw teeming, traffic and overflowing granaries; I saw palpitating messengers of commerce speeding in all directions; I saw the currents of business flowing full and strong.

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March 31, 1906

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