Thursday, February 03, 2011


True Wealth

Henry David Thoreau, Huckleberries, in Collected Essays and Poems (New York: Library of America, 2001), pp. 468-501 (at 498):
We cut down the few old oaks which witnessed the transfer of the township from the Indian to the white man, and perchance commence our museum with a cartridge box taken from a British soldier in 1775. How little we insist on truly grand and beautiful natural features. There may be the most beautiful landscapes in the world within a dozen miles of us, for aught we know—for their inhabitants do not value nor perceive them—and so have not made them known to others—but if a grain of gold were picked up there, or a pearl found in a fresh-water clam, the whole state would resound with the news.

Thousands annually seek the White Mountains to be refreshed by their wild and primitive beauty—but when the country was discovered a similar kind of beauty prevailed all over it—and much of this might have been preserved for our prersent refreshment if a little foresight and taste had been used.

I do not believe that there is a town in this country which realizes in what its true wealth consists.


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