Sunday 28 May 2017


2017 0528 22 Dr Schindler: Live 365 Days A Year: W.C.English, a remarkable man

Dr John A Schindler, M.D., in his masterpiece, "How to Live 365 Days a Year" discusses 12 guiding principles to make your life richer, starting with "Keep Life Simple." He writes [pp 98-100]:

W.C. English, a remarkable man. One of the finest men it has been my great fortune to know was a man who made himself entirely happy in the world that lies at the tips of our fingers, visible to our immediate sight, and always withing hearing. His name was W.C. English. 

I met him when I was in college; he was already in his sixties. W.C. English was John Burroughs, John Muir, and Gilbert White of Selbourne all rolled into one. He enjoyed everything around him. His life was simple, his only needs were eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell and fingers to feel.

He needed no automobile to travel. He could see more afoot. And in a mile afoot, he found infinitely more wonder than most people find in ten thousand miles on wheels. He knew every plant, every bush, every tree, by its scientific name, as well as its common name. 

He knew the insects. They astounded him. He enjoyed the birds and could spot and name them from far off.  He thoroughly knew his world, and was entirely at home in it. At night he was at home with the stars and the sounds of the forest. He knew about geology, fossils and caves.

He lectured or wrote an essay when he  needed money. But he had no great need for money, because he was richer than Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller combined. He would chuckle when he heard of other people's misfortunes, asking why people should be foolish enough to cause themselves so much trouble.

For him the people he met were as interesting as the plants and birds, and he treated them with the same solicitude. He was one man who was truly loved and respected by all who knew him. His wife always said that she adored him more every year.

We can't, of course, be W.C. English or live like him. But the point is, we should cultivate the ability to find our enjoyments in the common things which are always at hand. To be able to do so gives living a most tremendous lift whose value cannot be overestimated. Developing a capacity for enjoying what is at hand carries with it simplicity in living.

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