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walking essay thoreau

But the farmer is armed with plow and spade. I refer to him only as the type of a class. Darwin the naturalist says, "A white man bathing by the side of a Tahitian was like a plant bleached by the gardener's art, compared with a fine, dark green one, growing vigorously in the open fields.". Thoreau's essay "Walking" grew out of journal entries developed in 1851 into two lectures, "Walking" and "The Wild," which were delivered in 1851 and 1852, and again in 1856 and 1857. You may safely say, A penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds. I pass from it as from a bean-field into the forest, and it is forgotten. The cities import it at any price. Why bother to pursue a passion? If you would get exercise, go in search of the springs of life. We may study the laws of matter at and for our convenience, but a successful life knows no law. He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them—transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half-smothered between two musty leaves in a library,—aye, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature. Major essays by Henry D. Thoreau: A Walk to Wachusett » An essay about a journey Thoreau took with Richard Fuller, from Concord to the summit of Mount Wachusett located in Princeton, Massachusetts. The word is from the Latin. It is so much of their wildness as I can understand. The winners begin to realize that although the money is a blessing, it can become a headache. I walk out into a Nature such as the old prophets and poets, Manu, Moses, Homer, Chaucer, walked in. It is hard for me to believe that I shall find fair landscapes or sufficient wildness and freedom behind the eastern horizon. Some of our Northern Indians eat raw the marrow of the Arctic reindeer, as well as various other parts, including the summits of the antlers, as long as they are soft. I will not allow mere names to make distinctions for me, but still see men in herds for all them. I floated along under the spell of enchantment, as if I had been transported to an heroic age, and breathed an atmosphere of chivalry. Nature has a place for the wild clematis as well as for the cabbage. I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. “Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated hour.” Line 8. I saw the fences half consumed, their ends lost in the middle of the prairie, and some worldly miser with a surveyor looking after his bounds, while heaven had taken place around him, and he did not see the angels going to and fro, but was looking for an old post-hole in the midst of paradise. The weapons with which we have gained our most important victories, which should be handed down as heirlooms from father to son, are not the sword and the lance, but the bush-whack, the turf-cutter, the spade, and the bog-hoe, rusted with the blood of many a meadow, and begrimed with the dust of many a hard-fought field. Moreover, you must walk like a camel, which is said to be the only beast which ruminates when walking. He deplores man's attempts to bound the landscape with fences and stakes, placed by the "Prince of Darkness" as surveyor. The valleys of the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rhine, having yielded their crop, it remains to be seen what the valleys of the Amazon, the Plate, the Orinoco, the St.Lawrence, and the Mississippi will produce. Give me the ocean, the desert, or the wilderness! It will never become quite familiar to you. It is here that we discover our wildness. Leaving the highlands of Asia, he descends from station to station towards Europe. The more you read you become more and more interested. He expands upon the evidence of history in Europe as reflective of the past. Michaux, who knew but part of them, says that “the species of large trees are much more numerous in North America than in Europe; in the United States there are more than one hundred and forty species that exceed thirty feet in height; in France there are but thirty that attain this size.” Later botanists more than confirm his observations. It is an essentially tame and civilized literature, reflecting Greece and Rome. He appears to migrate westward daily, and tempt us to follow him. The farmers and their works are scarcely more obvious than woodchucks and their burrows. It is the uncivilized free and wild thinking in “Hamlet” and the “Iliad,” in all the Scriptures and Mythologies, not learned in the schools, that delights us. There was no noise of labor. The wildest dreams of wild men, even, are not the less true, though they may not recommend themselves to the sense which is most common among Englishmen and Americans to-day. Nothing can equal the serenity of their lives. They are the sublimest recreation of the intellect. They shook their heads, raised their tails, and rushed up and down a hill, and I perceived by their horns, as well as by their activity, their relation to the deer tribe. The poet to-day, notwithstanding all the discoveries of science, and the accumulated learning of mankind, enjoys no advantage over Homer. When looking over a list of men's names in a foreign language, as of military officers, or of authors who have written on a particular subject, I am reminded once more that there is nothing in a name. So, frequently, the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge treats its cattle. Their coat of arms is simply a lichen. I did not perceive that they were weaving or spinning. Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? When I think about living a purposeful and fulfilling life, I think about doing something meaningful. When, formerly, I have analyzed my partiality for some farm which I had contemplated purchasing, I have frequently found that I was attracted solely by a few square rods of impermeable and unfathomable bog,—a natural sink in one corner of it. “Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.” (Thoreau 385) In other words, if we have warmth, food, water, and clothing what purpose does added luxury serve. My needle is slow to settle,—varies a few degrees, and does not always point due southwest, it is true, and it has good authority for this variation, but it always settles between west and south-southwest. Two or three hours' walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see. Perchance, when, in the course of ages, American liberty has become a fiction of the past,—as it is to some extent a fiction of the present,—the poets of the world will be inspired by American mythology. Through his writing, Thoreau explains to us that by being driven to continuously improve our lives, we will be able to live a fulfilling life. Thoreau suggests that how I view the world will my shape life journey. He sees the American government as an evil that only watches out for the interests of the majority and blatantly ignores those who are not part of that general consensus. A truly good book is something as natural, and as unexpectedly and unaccountably fair and perfect, as a wild-flower discovered on the prairies of the West or in the jungles of the East. If with fancy unfurled You leave your abode, You may go round the world By the Old Marlborough Road. Many a poor sore-eyed student that I have heard of would grow faster, both intellectually and physically, if, instead of sitting up so very late, he honestly slumbered a fool’s allowance. The name Menschikoff, for instance, has nothing in it to my ears more human than a whisker, and it may belong to a rat. This exploit confers some dignity on the herd in my eyes,—already dignified. There are other letters for the child to learn than those which Cadmus invented. Of course, this government he spoke of was purely off his needs, failing to review or analyze the needs of his fellow citizens. We require an infusion of hemlock-spruce or arbor-vitæ in our tea. Whether or not we acknowledge it, there is a savage in all of us, even the most civilized, and that primal nature will show itself in impassioned or inspired moments. There was no noise of labor. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will can Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance?

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