Page 8 MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK
which has a vast field for esthetic enjoyment, especially for country folk.
The other thought which The Children's Birthright suggests to me is of one of the "great common errors" which we indulge in daily. That is that childhood is always the happiest period of every life and when it is over we must leave behind us these priceless experiences and take our place in what we call a real, practical world. In the first place, childhood to many is not the happiest period of life. It was not the happiest time for Ire. I will not go into the details of disappointments, sorrows, fears, feelings of helplessness because I could not correct injustice or do other things that ought to have been done, which it would be too late to do when I grew up. I do not look back upon my childhood as an unhappy one, because I developed a marvellous ability to forget, which for some children ranks next in importance to the ability to remember; but in sincerity I must say that for me childhood was far from that carefree, joyous period which a lot of people are always talking about. I believe the reason people look upon childhood as a perfect period of life is because they remember only the best of it. The importance of that best we cannot over-estimate. Many a grownup has fought through his hardest battle because he has been supported by memories of his childhood.
I believe that there is no more certain way to keep the priceless experiences of childhood fresh arid green, continuing them through life, than by the constant quest for beauty. To try each day to see more clearly the wonder and the beauty of the earth, to make each task contribute a little more to the glory of the combined work of God and man, this I think is one of the most certain roads to happiness. There is a direct line which leads from a worthy piece of work to an adequate appreciation of human values in our fellow men.
I want to close by reading the words of a favorite author of mine, John Galsworthy of England, who toward the end of his life left this message on the need for beauty:
Sentiment apart, the ideal of beauty is the best investment modern man can crake. Science has developed destructive power which increases a hundredfold each decade, and the Great War was a little war compared with that which might be waged next. Nothing but the love of beauty in its broadest sense, a higher cotaception of the dignity of human life, stands between Man and the full and reckless exercise of his competitive appetites.
Our civilization, if it is to endure, must have a star on which to fix its eyes-something distant and magnetic to draw it on beyond the troubled needs and prejudices of the moment. In these unsuperstitious days no ideal seems possible save beautyor call it, if you will, the dignity of human life; the teaching of what beauty is to all, so that we wish and work and dream that not only ourselves but everybody may be healthy and happy; and above all, the fostering of the habit of doing things and making things well, for the joy of the work and the pleasure of achieveinent.