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Marion Kingston Stocking, 1922-2009
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Letter to Herself at Twenty-Eight:
Diary Excerpts, New Year's Eve, 1940

You will never be happy too far away from the hills and the tumbling brooks where the cardinal flowers bloom, where there are trails for weary feet. Right now a life without trails seems pretty dull. When tired and care-worn, and sick and disillusioned in a world where ideals are on a cross, there is always poetry to soothe the aching mind in the winding of a forest trail. There is a knife in the wind on a mountain top that burns and cuts all impurity from a breast bared to it. Thank God for hill winds!

I hope that you have found a life full of poetry. You have always loved it, written a little, cherished much.

As I write this, the world is in a pretty awful mess. China is being invaded by Japan. Spain, her wounds of civil war unhealed, is being ripped around in Europe. Germany & Italy are fighting England, having conquered France and most of Europe. Russia wavers between each side as bombs smash Britain. America is arming at top speed. A draft has been ordered, & every week more men are poured into the Army. I hope you are living in a world at peace, with no race or country prejudice.

Roosevelt has just been reelected for a third term. There is a new party rising, the Socialists, that seem to be extreme idealists. Perhaps they are in power as you read this. Some great change has probably been wrought by the great war. Perhaps the tired world is still struggling.

Somewhere, now, the shadows are slipping beneath the pointed firs, and a thrush is singing alone in the deep woods. There are pine needles waiting for your feet, and a tall sky full of stars waiting for night. Find them—for they are truly yours—this is what you are living for. This is what you were born to love. It is here, standing on tiptoes reaching for stars, that you can rise and float away above the sordid, the filthy, the common and dusty level of life. You were born to stand on hilltops with the wind blowing stars through your hair. Never forget it.

Perhaps you are still scatterbrained. In the deep, low song of the pines you will find poise, in the bending of the birches—grace. You will only be happy with the people who love you that way—starry-brained & excited and full of the love of just living.

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