The other day I was matting some photographs and had inserted in my cassette Dvorjak’s Ninth Symphony. It was quiet in my studio and I listened carefully and admired again the fire, the soft sweetness and the beauty of this New World Symphony. I have heard it so many times but I always soar with it.


It was more than a half century ago, on a winter day in Weston, Vermont. I had left home as I often did, to walk in the woods. It had snowed the night before, just four inches or so, but it was a light, dry snow and there was no wind. I took a rifle, although I rarely shot it,  and looked for animal tracks. Always there is silence after a whisper of snow. I. A couple of rabbit hunters passed with ten feet of me. They never saw me, I never said a word and didn’t move.

There were large spruces besides a path that led to a summer pasture. The trees were tall and dusted with new snow. The wind rustled softly and every so often released from the top branches a mist of snow that drifted down silently,  an evanescent shroud that, fleetingly, wrapped around me—cold, moist, so  refreshing

snow drop from tree (2)

I returned home. Mother was not there and I sprawled on the living room floor, reading LIFE Magazine. I carefully read and gazed at the photo essays and the people and places so far away. Every week I immersed my being in those pages.

I had a phonograph on the floor and I put on a record—where it came from, I don’t know—it must have been Mother’s. It was the New World Symphony. The music slowly took control of my being; it was my first symphony. This new world  released an elation I didn’t comprehend. I relived that morning of sun and snow. I felt the storms and summers and fall beauty. It was more exciting than reading LIFE.

I had taken my first step following the path to beauty. I was 15 and had yet to buy my first camera.


1 Comment

  1. John Hadden on August 12, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Great post Peter! Reminiscent of a few “enlightening” walks of my own as a kid…

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