Letter from Sean Tinsley

Henry David Thoreau, equal parts Concord sage and embellishing crank, was right about one thing: it does the body good to step back once in awhile. In the chapter “Sounds” of Walden, he describes feeling strange joy in uprooting his cabin furniture and placing it outside. He was curious to see his desk and bedstead basked in sunlight, conversing with the elements: “It was worth the while to … hear the free wind blow on them; so much more interesting most familiar objects look out of doors than in the house.”

Such jois de vivre is off-putting today, I’m sure of it. Here’s a man who’s convinced his kitchen table belongs outdoors just so “blackberry vines run round its legs.” Few today can identify blackberry, and even fewer would find pleasure in vine-entangled furnishing. People would rather draw the blinds, sit on their couches indoors and turn on the TV. The couch is so much more interesting out of doors!

Here, we don’t have TV. We don’t have blinds that hide the sun. Instead, we have furniture outside blowing in the wind. We have poetry and prose and pictures. We have artwork to deliberately make you think. Art that beckons your contemplation and asks you to consider the universe from eyes that belong not to yourself. Art that asks you to see things differently and to spend some time lost in thought. Art that challenges and inspires. So, before you put your divan in your backyard, please enjoy the latest edition of The Hill.