The Sanctuary of Wegimind

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Sanctuary of Wegimind - Title Page

Give me solitude-give me Nature-give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities.

WALT WHITMAN

I come here to find myself; It is so easy to get lost in the world.

JOHN BURROUGHS

Nay, my Friend, I cannot join you in the chase. Be not offended with me, my Friend, for I am as I am. I love the living Symbols of God! I love the growing trees, the creature alive! Go forth, Friend, if you will, to your theatre of death-‘but pray leave me to my sanctuary!

CAMPBELL ABBOTT

To
W E G I M I N D
[Mother]

While yet you walked with me through forest trails, and we talked of the grand mysteries about us; before you stepped beyond the veil, leaving me hungering for more of your sweet counsel, you said to me:

“You will grow, my Child, you will grow, -and these forests will grow with you! You may, for a time, find satisfaction in killing creatures of the wildwood, and believe their function in the vast scheme of life is to serve man with flesh and hide. You may feel pride in a shot that halts the swift flight of bird or beast, and boast of your catch or kill, but you will grow, my Child. Riper years will find you aloft this physical plane in that state of mind to which death can offer no pleasure.”

You said to me:

“You will grow, my Child, and you will find these temples of trees ever apace with you. You will awaken to the glory of their

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kind and color, and the beauty of their shy peoples. You will find bird and beast miracles of interest, and wonder, then, how you ever used them for targets. The forests will take form which will endear them to you. You will see minarets of spruce in which sound the soft chimes of the wood thrush; colonades of hemlock through which moves the cautious deer, as keeper of the silences. You will see companionship in the heavens, and such beauty in each tiny unit of creation, that to kill or destroy will never again find place in your thinking.”

You said to me:

“You will grow, my Child, you will grow. Think not that you will ever find place to pause,-and Nature will grow with you. You will look deeper than the flesh, deeper yet than intellect, and see into the Soul of the Wilderness. All Nature will become symbolic to you, symbol which points to some suggestion of Truth. You will see in the star-lit heavens the symbol of infinity, not physical infinity, but the endless reaches of Spirit and Mind objectified. You will see in the irrepressible growth about you symbol of the

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omnipotence of Life, superior to all manner of destruction and death. You will faintly glimpse the omnipresence and omniscience of the Living God. You will see, in all creatures His handiwork, and His likeness expressed in man. O, my Child, then will you know the peace which passeth understanding! Then will you see that you are indeed a part of all your eyes behold! Then will you understand that beauty, peace, tranquillity, and the growing glory of the universe are not in nature, but in man. You will understand that an arrow shot into flesh of the forest but imbeds itself in your own consciousness!”

And you said to me:

“My Child, when you have grown to see into the Soul of Nature, remember that out in the world of turmoil are many hungry hearts seeking thoughts of peace and hope. If your pen feels active, write, my Child! No thought that brings you happiness and peace is meant for you alone. Remember, it is written, ‘freely ye have received, freely give.’ And as you thus give, you will establish the flow of heavenly water, which will nourish you to new

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growth, the glories of which ‘knoweth no man, but the Father.’ ” These are not your words, Dear One, but they are your oft expressed thoughts. Can you hear me, in your Greater World? You spoke truly, for I can no longer kill in the name of pleasure. I have found the forest creatures “miracles of interest,” and lived long, happy in their study. I have been awakened to the beauty of glowing sunsets, the endless, changing charm of the forest, and the sublimity of sky, stream, and sea. There have come moments, precious moments, when I have indeed caught glimpses even into “the Soul of the Wilderness!” The glory which is there revealed to me is too great for me to contain! I could do none else than follow your last commandment-and I pray that God will guide my pen!

S.A.C.

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Pictures In The Night

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Pictures In The Night

We remember every precious moment of that beauteous fall evening. A full moon, barely above the tree tops, illumined the woods. We made our way to “Forgotten Valley,” only a few rods removed from the road, but separated, by all infinity from the mad whirl of the world. The night air wore an edge of frost, which seemed objectified in the pale, white birches. Black moon-cast shadows, rich in mystery, lay in fantastic patterns on the leaf-strewn forest floor. The peace of the endless ages rested on this tree filled valley-a valley forgotten of men, but remembered of God!

Under sheer mesmerism of the quiet beauty we stood, still as the trees about us, imbibing the glory. Alert with interest and expectancy, our ears caught the sound of a cautious tred. It came nearer and nearer, till we held breath in anxious anticipation. Soon passed before us a beautiful Spirit, so graceful, so poetic, it seemed unreal. A six-point buck!

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hardly out of reach, and happily unmindful of our presence! So close he came that we could see the lustre of his horns in the moonlight, and hear his soft, measured breathing!

No animal in all the forest was safer than he at that moment, for we had nothing to cast at him except awestruck admiration and love. And since then, amidst the clatter of cities, we have told of the experience to many openly envious of us-many who want to go and see him, as did we.

Comes another picture. The moon has waned, and night again grips the forest. A powerful motor car moves slowly along the road which circles “Forgotten Valley,”‘ its strong spot light swinging rhythmically from side to side. The Great Buck peers forth from the underbrush, eyeing curiously this strange phenomenon which fascinates him and makes his eyes glow like burning coals. Within the big car there are excited whispers; a window is lowered cautiously, and a high-powered rifle levelled at the buck. Neither law nor license supports the plans of this “sportsman,” but he has little use for either. The gun sights align on the noble gray head just between the

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glowing eyes, and an anxious finger slowly presses the fatal trigger. But a sudden lurch of the car as it strikes a small rut disturbs the aim! and when the shot roars out in the still night, the Buck wheels and disappears in the forest, followed by the curses of his would-be murderer.

And now a third picture! The Great Buck has been seen again, head erect, courageous, still undaunted. But his gait is no longer easy, graceful,-no, and not painless! One beautiful leg hangs helplessly, the pitiful record of that shot that “missed.” Every step is now labored, every jolt a piercing pain; his nights are filled with untold agony, his days with trembling fear. What a desperate handicap he bears for the stern battles before him, the ceaseless conflict with cold, hunger and wolves!

O, Hidden Violator, what recompense did you gain in this sorrowful crime? Even if your shot had “hit” and your over-pampered appetite been gratified, even if that beautiful six point head hung mounted on your wall-what recompense? These many days we have been happy with our mental trophy, and the Buck still at liberty to thrill others, painlessly! But

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now, even now, he hobbles in indescribable torture, until some other, in unintentional kindness comes with better aim.

There are seasons for the slaughter, could you not have waited-given us the chance to see him once again?

There is something unfair, shamefully unfair, to the unoffending animal, to us, and to all the world in this.

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Build Thou Sanctuaries!

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Build Thou Sanctuaries!

What vast areas of this good, old world are dedicated to destruction and death! Its face is pock-marked with battlefields,-monuments to the delusion that conquest is ever gain! Its cities quiver with commercial strife, with moral and mental murder. Its woods and mountains echo with the crack of the hunter’s gun, its lakes and streams foam with the struggles of hooked fish, and its remote trails are lined with cruel snares. What strange paradox that man, the highest expression of life, should so cultivate and promote for his seeming pleasure and profit his last enemy-Death!

But the evolutionary trend is out of this chaos. In ages past, none stopped even to question the virtues of violence. Mobs worked themselves into frenzies at the bloody encounters of gladiators and the wholesale slaughter of martyrs. Hunting was an unstinted outlet for this maniacle joy in death! An early king boasted the killing of over 120,000-

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deer and unnumbered smaller game! Death represented the only road to power, pleasure, or plenty. But now and again through the ages one paused to think, turned his back on this carnage, and found some of the joy and peace of life! True, the first to acclaim this peaceful life were scorned, tortured, burned, or crucified-but their thoughts were true, and above the reach of destruction. In one generation improvement is imperceptible, but over the scope of history, the love of life has steadily gained in the mind of man, spreading from isolated individuals to groups, to sects, to national consciousness, and to world-wide societies.

This is a fitting trend in the unfoldment of man, it is consistent with his divine origin. He is innately more than a scourger, a destroyer; were he not, it would never have occurred to him to pause. Were he but a composit of carnal appetites, he would never have sensed the spiritual appeal of beauty, kindness, love, humility, or self-sacrifice. Like the crushing avalanche, he would have followed his gravitational bent, unquestioningly. But deep in the breast of the most primitive man was set the

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divine compass, ever pointing upward, ever leading him away from the fading, illusory appeal of the flesh to the gratifying joys of Mind and Spirit.

Science is interpreting anew the instincts of aboriginal races. Their crude methods of living are said not to arise from a lack of potential civilization, but to indicate an underdeveloped stage. The power to rise to sublime heights lies in every savage breast. Evolution is a process of unfoldment. Carnality is not man, but a stage of thought which governs him. It is a dream from which he must awaken.

This is where man stands today! Still clinging to the animal propensities of yesterday, yet glimpsing now and again some of the spiritual joys of tomorrow. He oscillates between the roar of his carnal senses and the still, small voice of Soul. He still plays the killer, but now looks upon the animal he has slain with some pang of conscience. He has begun to question at the felling of a tree, or the crushing of a flower. He is beginning-just beginning-to see a deeper meaning to the myriad forms of life that express Nature. The outer world is but a reflection of the

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inner world. So long as vast areas of man’s consciousness are given to destructive thoughts, vast areas of his world will be the fields of destruction. Conversely, so long as some portion of his thinking dwells on life and peace, some part of the earth in which he dwells must be held sacred to this tendency. The areas will be proportionate to his thoughts.

It is meet, then, that men should build and maintain Sanctuaries; areas however small wherein the destructive phase cannot enter. It is good for man to have and live in such a place, and for a moment to give thought only to the higher interpretation of Nature. It is good for his thought and actions to be free of all temptation to destroy, that he may appreciate what unsurpassed joy lies in undiluted spiritual thinking. The desire for Sanctuaries is grand in itself, but it is infinite in its prophecy. It is the waymark that points the trek of the race, the star that leads to the birth-manger of an elevated concept of life. It is the gateway to the spiritual destiny of man, through which he will pass from physical depravity to mental and spiritual perfection.

As he gives space, time and thought to

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these peaceful aims of life, as he ceases to glorify and encourage those elements which injure him most, as he tastes the high spiritual joys, feels their hope and uplift, the areas of his consciousness given to love of life will expand, those given to exalting death and destruction diminish, and the glorious expanse of the earth’s surface will be happily reapportioned.

There are pure thoughts in all minds-let there be more! There are life-sustaining Sanctuaries in our blessed woods-let there be more! Give this evolutionary trend space wherein to grow; water the love of Life!

Build Thou Sanctuaries!

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The Sanctuary Of Wegimind

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The Sanctuary Of Wegimind

Preparation for the Sanctuary of Wegimind began some thirty thousand years ago, according to the Sermons in Stone. For a period the itinerant earth had wandered into the wintry regions of the universe, and during this frigid sojourn the polar ice cap enlarged tremendously, reaching its cold fingers far toward the tropics. Comparatively moderate periods intervened during which the prodigious glacier receded, only to return with renewed prowess. The most recent spread of the great ice sheet-but yesterday in geological time-covered all of what is now the Dominion of Canada and northern United States, reaching as far south as Ohio. The ponderous, hoary mammoth lumbered about in its cold shadows. In Europe it reached the Thames river, central Germany, and covered most of what is now Russia. The Neanderthal man was living a difficult existence in his gloomy caves, perhaps feeling the first thrusts of the superior weapons and intelligence of the Cro-Magnon, prophetic of his doom.

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Under this ponderous sea of ice, the world underwent purification. Ages of tropical existence had left it soft, degenerated, its animal life weakened. The great glacier scoured it with crystalline purity, polishing the hills, cleansing the- air with its frosty breath. It weeded out the weaklings of the vegetable and animal kingdom, and led the inherently strong to higher development. Gigantic rivers flowed from its borders carving beautiful, fertile valleys for posterity. It redistributed the soil, ground rocks to bits, rolled up ranges of hills, and chisled the record of its maneuvres in bed rock.

As the immense ice sheet receded, it left treasures of incalculable value in its wake. Thousands of beautiful lakes dotted the landscape. A tidal wave of virile forests swept across the region,-forests of trees whose strength was now proven. Hordes of lovely creatures crept into the waters and woods, their characters and intelligence moulded by trial. And the majestic silence of the glacier rested in the verdant halls!

The advent of the white man was as yet remote in this renovated wilderness, but seeded

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in the perfect scheme was provision for his every need. Some day he would arrive, footsore, weary, bewildered by his errors. In the sacred vaults of this wilderness temple were stored food and clothing for his physical requirements; beauty, intelligence, magnitude, and wonders to feed his mind; and-supreme gift of all-solitude and peace for his world-weary soul. Crowned with beauty and strength, abounding in parable and inspiration, clothed in peace and restfulness, this land of forests and lakes was predestined a Sanctuary for man!

Well, the white man has come. Before his hurried march the great forests have receded until they occupy only a small part of their former domain. He became intoxicated with abundance, and ran amuck with destruction. He mowed down the trees, slaughtered the wild creatures, and, like the prodigal son, wasted his substance in riotous living. He cast all at the feet of idols, gold, power, and vanity, in which there is no profit. Near too late, he is realizing that in his wantonness he crushed a

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valuable part of himself, and stripped high joys from his soul. His deified cities have undermined his character and denied him peace. His miscreations engulf him, he is tortured with spectres and forebodings.

Wearily, now, he calls for Sanctuary,-for solitude, and peace in which he may bring back his lost composure. He preaches conservation and restitution, begging the return of the wild life he has expelled.

Not all change is progress. Mammon is not the Ultimate, and in its name to ravage Nature is an error severe in its penalty. The quiet, meditative propensities in the Natural Man, which flourish amidst hills, mountains, forests, lakes and streams, are too important and beneficent in his evolution to be lost.

In the midst of the northern wilderness which commemorates the glacier, nestles a modest lake of unsurpassed solitude and repose. Its sylvan shores are of friendly distance, yet there is space for the heavens in its depths. The white-throated sparrow, nightingale of the north, sings in ecstasy on its margins, and

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the sublime song of the hermit thrush floats out from a mysterious where, a solo in a bird symphony. The great forest comes down to the shoreline, as if seeking the caress of the gentle waters, and out of the arboreal depths creeps an ancient deer trail, worn deeply into the forest floor by dainty hoofs. There are times when it echoes with the howl of the wolf, or the piercing cry of the wild cat, and even the much hunted bear may risk a sojourn on its sands.

Aquatic mammals play on its serene surface unafraid, water fowl wheel and light without caution. The kingfisher sits still as a knot on the barren bough, patiently abiding until a delectable fish comes to view. All life moves to a divine Melody of Peace, and if man, the feared invader, appears on the shores, he incites no panic, but fits sweetly into the scheme. With so much to love, there must come the lover!

For word has gone out, in language God’s creatures understand, that in this realm there is no sudden death! That here the hand of man is stayed with deeper pleasures! The blue stillness of day is not broken with startling shot,

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nor the inspiring solitude of night hideously pierced with the agonized cry of trapped creatures. The fawn may play in the lilypads, the porcupine waddle at his leisure-no eager finger rests on a death-dealing trigger in this, The Sanctuary of Wegimind.

Here the heart feasts on life, and it is written, “harm not God’s unoffending creatures; seek no pleasure through torture or death. Mar not the trees, trample no flower, profane not these silences. Raise your thoughts above carnal pleasures, keep this nook in the world free of all strife and killing, that here one may taste the joy of living, and in sublime solitude glimpse the inner Kingdom of Spirit!”

At times there have been those come to Wegimind, bent with the weight of the world, their minds ill with worldly emulations, their thoughts flooded with hatred, resentment, or a sense of martyrdom to the strange ways of man. There have been those with hearts weighted with grief, dangerously questioning the worth of living, struck blind and dumb with bitterness. Some have come, frightened at the inevitable advance of age; some harmed

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by the misdirected impetus of youth, some with nerves and bodies cracking under worldly strain.

But as the peace of the Sanctuary settles upon them, their burdens become lightened, or vanish entirely. Here before the majesty and magnitude of creation, where all that wars with the peace of man is consciously evicted, they are born anew. For who could look on the courageous, yet humble, posture of a tree, “A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts its leafy arms to pray,” and still hold fear in his heart? Who could feel the soft caress of the life-giving sun rays, symbolic of the affluence of God, and still sense envy for his fellow men? Who could wander the trails of Wegimind, walk intimately with Nature, noting the bird calls, kneeling to dainty flowers, breathing the fragrance of the balsams, and still hold selfishness in thought? Who could look on the vast canopy of starlit heavens, and not feel that there is a Divine Plan which shames our grief? Who could sit by the crackling campfire, the birthplace of security, intelligence, and peace, and not know that for all our fears and un-

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worthiness, we are under the love and care of a God of Wisdom?

A Sanctuary is not complete which ends with the protection of wildlife. It is not enough to take destruction and killing out of habit, the full joy is when these thoughts are taken out of mind. Man lives with his thoughts, and Mind is his only true Sanctuary! “Make yourself nests of pleasants thoughts,” says John Ruskin, “none of us as yet know . . . what palaces we may build of beautiful thoughts-proof against all adversity.” “To live thy better,” adds Sir Walter Raleigh, “let thy worst thoughts die!”

Then fill the Mental Sanctuary with love, joy, courage, good cheer, beauty, reverence-these thoughts are life. Banish hatred, worry, grief, carnality, envy, bitterness, fear-these are death. “To think an evil is, in a manner, to create it,” said Wegimind. Man may erect costly cathedrals, bless them, and grace them with ritual, but they are impotent and ineffectual unless reverence, holiness, and humility govern the mind.

“Peace is the fairest form of happiness,”

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observed William Ellery Channing. What peace, what joyous satisfaction to look on one of God’s beautiful creatures and feel no desire to kill it! What tranquillity to look on the miracle we have named “Tree” and sense no urge to mar it! How glorious to be content with gathering the beauty of a flower in mind; and who can pen the happiness of looking on the illimitable vastness of the universe, with no wish to possess or consume any small part of it-just content to be a “part of all our eyes behold!”

This is the purpose of the Sanctuary of Wegimind; to provide a realm for the protection of wild life, and an atmosphere propitious to the higher thoughts of man. Its possessions are the invaluable creations of God, held inviolate; its guest-fee the sincere adherence to its creed; its aim to gain peace and joy by giving it; its inspiration the memory of a beautiful soul, for whom it is named Wegimind (Mother); its voice, the humble “Sanctuary Letters;” its motto, “Peace be still!”

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