Friday, April 01, 2005



Henry David Thoreau, Journals, January 7, 1857:
There is nothing so sanative, so poetic, as a walk in the woods and fields even now, when I meet none abroad for pleasure. Nothing so inspires me and excites such serene and profitable thought. The objects are elevating. In the streets and in society I am almost invariably cheap and dissipated, my life is unspeakably mean. But alone in distant woods or fields, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related, and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by churchgoing and prayer. I come to my solitary woodland walk, as the homesick go home. I wish to know something; I wish to be made better. I wish to forget, a considerable part of every day, all mean, narrow, trivial men, and therefore I come out to these solitudes, where the problem of existence is simplified. I get away a mile or two from the town into the stillness and solitude of nature, with rocks, trees, weeds, snow about me. I am not thus expanded, recreated, enlightened, when I meet a company of men. They bore me. This stillness, solitude, wildness of nature is a kind of thoroughwort, or boneset, to my intellect. This is what I go out to seek. It is if I always met in those places some grand, serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible companion, and walked with him.

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