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Forty-Five
Charles Darwin spent 21 years working in secret,
gathering evidence,
before sharing his theory of evolution with the world.
“I feel as though I have committed a murder,”
he confided in a friend.
John James Audubon often tossed his entire portfolio on the fire,
dissatisfied with the craft and art of his work,
before he awoke one morning, inspired.
He raced to town to purchase wire,
and captured a living bird
in black ink and the subtle strokes of water colors.
And then he spent 36 years making sketches and field notes,
collecting specimens, traveling in the wildest places in America,
to complete his one great work, 435 paintings of
“The Birds of North America.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder did not even begin to write until she was 65,
completed nine novels in just about as many years
and in her lifetime
she traveled from a little house in the big woods
across the prairie in a covered wagon
to watch her father lay the track for the coming trains
and then she flew in a jet plane,
driving a big Buick to autograph books!
Walt Whitman worked and reworked,
worked and reworked
his one great life work.
He spent a lifetime cultivating “Leaves of Grass,”
and like its namesake, the work still blooms every spring
casting fertile seed to the four corners of the fertile earth!
I am just forty-five,
with ten published books under my belt
and at least a dozen more inside my head,
and if, at forty-five, I am in the middle of a good long life,
then I can only hope that my greatest work is still before me.
(c) 2007 Brian "Fox" Ellis

HISTORY... In Person

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