Who wrote that? I asked aloud. Meade guessed the name of one of our regular commenters.
I laughed. "Emerson! You know why I'm reading that? I'm reading this letter to the editor of the New York Times from 1853, and the reason I'm reading it is that I did an archive search — you can go back to 1851 in the archives — for 'facetious' and 'bowers,' because I was looking for that quote in the law case Bowers v. Hardwick that uses the word 'facetious,' which is something I wanted for that post about argument by laughter."
Thereupon, I read the verbose and goofily palpitating paean to nature that begins "I have a penchant for grass and trees. A facetious friend intimates, it is on account of some natural affinity — mentioning a certain color by way of illustration." And so forth. The word "bowers" is in there:
Oh! happy is the man that has many of these spots to dream over, when the real of existence becomes too real! I have a few, and they are bowered with holy feeling — as beautiful and beloved as nests of singing larks in bowers of roses.Oh, well, okay... I think I know what you're saying in that crazy-ass pre-Civil War way. The temperature has shot up to 10° here in the northland. I don't know if the real of existence becomes too real here at my desk with my computer-screen view of the internet and my peripheral view of a wall of windows looking out onto the "liberal space" of Madison, Wisconsin. I don't think it will be such a dreamy escape from the real to go out there, but we will. It's time for that. When I'm trying to write about law and sodomy and laughing and I tumble back into 1853, the pine trees are waving to us.