During the 1870s and early 1880s when he was regularly publishing the series of letters he addressed to the working people of England, Fors Claiverga, Ruskin was more than a little inclined to let things develop as they had a mind to. For this reason, reading works completed during this time, one often comes across the phrase, “as Fors would have it.” He means by this that fors (loosely, “the forces of nature and life”–we shall get to a more specific discussion of it at some point) has, on her own terms, decided to give him, at just the right time and place, that which he needed to complete a thought or make a decision.
Such happened yesterday. Just moments after I posted “The Queen of the Air,” I chanced (?) to open The New York Times and found, on the front page, an article perfectly pertinent to our post. Here it is. Please take a moment to read it: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/25/upshot/the-connection-between-cleaner-air-and-longer-lives.html?_r=0
A theme in all of Ruskin’s work is purity. He believed–knew—that things which were pure, which were “in full bloom,” always enhanced life, while things spoiling, spoiled, corrupted, or polluted always degraded it. Of course, intuitively, we all know this too. A dish unfinished at dinner, left in the refrigerator for more than a day, not only loses its taste but its nutrients. (The Hindus would say that it loses its “prana,” its ability to give life.) If we insist on eating it, our tongues and stomachs are disappointed, the latter sometimes becoming discombobulated.
So too, this fors-provided article scientifically proves, with the air that we breathe. Athena is always, at all hours of all days, trying her level best to give us pure air to breathe, knowing that is so very, very good for us as well as the birds. Sometimes, intentionally or ignorantly, we stand in the way of her doing this. For which audacity, we pay the price in less life.
Breathe well out there!