I had stepped into a new life. Between the man I had been and that which I now became there was a very notable difference. In a single day I had matured astonishingly; which means, no doubt, that I suddenly entered into conscious enjoyment of powers and sensibilities which had been developing unknown to me. To instance only one point: till then I had cared very little about plants and flowers, but now I found myself eagerly interested in every blossom, in every growth of the wayside. As I walked I gathered a quantity of plants, promising myself to buy a book on the morrow and identify them all. Nor was it a passing humor; never since have I lost my pleasure in the flowers of the field and my desire to know them all. My ignorance at the time of which I speak seems to me now very shameful; but I was merely in the case of ordinary people, whether living in town or country. How many could give the familiar name of half a dozen plants plucked at random from beneath the hedge in spring-time? To me the flowers became symbolical of a great release, of a wonderful awakening. My eyes had all at once been opened; till then I had walked in darkness, not knew it yet.
But there is the rustle of branches in the morning breeze; there is the morning song of birds. Several times lately I have lain wakeful when there sounded the first note of the earliest lark; it makes me almost glad of my restless nights. The only trouble that touches me in these moments is the thought of my long life wasted amid the senseless noises of man's world. Year after year this spot has known the same tranquility; with ever so little of what was granted me, I might have blessed my manhood with calm, might have made for myself in later life a long retrospect of bowered peace. As it is, I enjoy with something of sadness remembering that this melodious silence is but the prelude of that deeper stillness which waits to enfold us all.