The number of those who pretend unto salvation, and those infinite swarmes who thinke to passe through the eye of this needle, have much amazed me. — Sir T. Browne
It is true that man is more commonly excited by the pleasures which are transiently set before his eyes than the past peculiarities of antiquity. That man is more apt to chase fading fads than foregone fancies is a truth so commonly accepted in modern society, that the few who reject fads are seen not as upholders of tradition, but as joyless cads, who, upon seeking forgotten fun, transgress against the modern goddess Pleasure, so found only in the present modes of modernity. For what one period considers pleasurable so another will disdain with contempt. Unwittingly and to their shame, the Monks of Modernity are so focused on their present pleasures, seen as far superior to outdated customs, that they uniformally forget that nothing new occurs under the sun, and that while wisdom among men is unique, laughter is common.¹
Perhaps no custom has been so lost as that of naming a child with significance. As years prevail and the outer darkness covers the globe with it dominance, the entrance of a new soul into the world becomes more of a nuisance, more of a means of populating the planet, than a miracle wrapped in a whirlwind of unending joy. That children are still named at times with some significance is not to be contested. But man has generally disposed of naming children with names that have peculiar meaning; he has replaced significance of thought with significance of sound, and what is pleasing to the ear is of more value than what is symbolic of the soul.
Though I highly doubt my own father and mother had any indication they were assigning my character with any special significance when they named me (my father, wishing to name me his own named spelled backwards; my mother, holding the good-natured ground of sanity and refusing it to become a reality), it is worth noting that my first name, in its English origin, means “a hill covered with broom,” and my last name, in its Germanic origin, means “snow mountain.” Though the broom plant, in its many variations and multiple uses, is not so similar to snow, I nevertheless find it fitting that hill comes before mountain, and like the youthful spring precedes the old age of winter, so plants precede snow. To add a slight twist, my middle name, given merely because my father (so desirous to connect my name with his) shares it, is also shared with the lone archangel of the Bible — standing in between a hill of broom and a mountain of snow stands an angel of some spectacular significance, with sword drawn and glowing with glory.
Tragically, I do not live amongst the snow-capped mountains as did my supposed ancestors. There was a time, however, when I stood atop a mountain of snow. Now, standing atop a mountain does not count unless one climbs it; and it does not count unless one climbs the whole thing. I did neither of those options and merely climbed the back side, covering over four-thousand feet in elevation, nevertheless. The group I was with was of decent size — about fifteen to twenty individuals, if memory serves. I specifically remember my good sister accompanying me on this hike, and like most packs, like-minded individuals stick together, and my sister and I, along with another friend and a guide, eventually separated ourselves from the rest. That is, a few go-getters flew up the mountain with commendable speed, while other stragglers lagged behind. It is a false notion that being in the middle of a situation is always a negative scar on one’s character, as if they are disposed to indecision or composed of an overcautious spirit. Being in the middle perhaps gives the best perspective in situations like climbing a mountain. One does not fly through the scenery out of an insatiable desire to be first; one does not take so much time smelling the roses, that dusk is overcome with darkness, and the way is lost.
For the rest of this Ambler, click here: Ambler, No 11. (Disregard the first line. Also notice that the document repeats itself, the second being clearer and easier to read.)
¹Dr. Johnson, The Lives of the Poets