A short entry from Thoreau’s journal

I am and have been a huge fan of Henry Thoreau since college. His journals are a fascinating read of his meticulous observations of nature in Concord, Massachusetts. When I miss nature and its quietness, I always revisit his writings.

I imagine meandering the grounds of Walden Pond and peeking into the simple cabin that Thoreau built himself and called home for just over two years, alone and apart from the general public. I would stroll though the forest, feeling the warm sun’s rays on my back, and hearing branches crunch on dried berries with each step. Perhaps we’d have coffee together sitting on a log outside his abode and talk endlessly about living counter cultural and ehat it means to march to the beat of our own drummers.

I have too many favorite quotes from his writings about nature, the creative mind, and how to live a simple life. But the one below is the most recent one I discovered: It’s simple but abstruse. I hope you can play with its meaning.

“The art of life, of a poet’s life, is, not having anything to do, to do something.”

April 29, 1852

Image result for where is walden pond
Walden Pond State Reservation
https://images.app.goo.gl/7meWRHCPfG1h1sUx5
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

27 thoughts on “A short entry from Thoreau’s journal

  1. Thankyou for a beautiful post. I love live that quote and can so resonate with it, having g found creativity and Gods ptesence best in these moments of stillness. 🌻

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  2. Ellis took a great photo in the other post – and side note – love the header with all those bird houses – what clarity and mood –
    also – I am going to share a link to this post with a blog friend (Linda) because we were just chatting about Thoreau – so the timing of this is great

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    • I, too, like the header shot with the bird houses – what lucky and blessed birds get to live all in the same tree/neighborhood?. Thank you for sending me here Yvette – in this post, I find peace too, though I must confess that even though I have never read Thoreau, his ability to be one with nature resonates with me. There is nothing more calming or satisfying then a morning walk and listening to the sounds of the park inhabitants awakening

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      • Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m delighted that Yvette linked my blog to you. I will definitely check out your blog too.
        It makes me totally happy that my blog gives peace…that’s one of the feelings I want to convey.
        I hope you get a chance to read Thoreau. His writing is about nature but his insights about nature links to life and how to live. If you like Thoreau, you may also like Emerson’s writing. They were close friends and Thoreau lived at Emerson’s home for a while. Please let me know if you do follow up on the reading. 🙂

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      • You are welcome and I too wish to convey peace with my blog (although maybe not today’s as I featured an angry goose for Wordless Wednesday). He certainly was a fractious fellow! But my best part of my day is spent walking. I enjoy it when I’m alone too and always hope there is no one who is in a chatty mood while I am there. (Yes, that sounds terrible, but I like the walk, feeding the squirrels and birds and taking pictures.)

        I have never read Emerson either … considering I took several literature classes in college, that is a travesty, isn’t it? I have heard of Emerson – did not know they were close friends. I will definitely let you know – I am behind in everything right now and at work in the process of converting to a computer system/software and hoping that will not encroach into my evenings/free time.

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      • I totally know what you mean about walking in solitude. Sometimes you need silence to think about your thoughts and observe what’s around you. One of my things in graduate school was talking to myself during walks while I organized my thoughts around school papers. That was a thing I could do in NYC because of its walking culture. But where I live now, not at all. Everyone drives.
        It’s totally possible to take literature courses and miss Emerson. Those classes are broken down into specific time periods…these guys were early American writers. I got into them via a writing tutor who studied philosophical writings.
        I hope you do get a chance to acquaint yourself with them! You will be delighted with their short and deep insights. Take care and wishing you quick progress on your work things.

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      • My morning walk is the highlight of my day and I have been thinking, and even discussed with my boss today, that in lieu of the Coronavirus, that my life will really not change that much (unless I’m unfortunate and become ill). I’m used to a rather solitary existence anyway and I don’t go to big gatherings, not a sports fan, preferring to just enjoy nature. The computer installation/migration to Windows 10 is halted for now – I don’t know why and didn’t ask as I don’t want to look anxious to do it on the weekend – that is my “me time” and “me time” is something I’ve been more protective of as I’ve grown older. I know I need to get away from all the news of the world … it’s worrisome, even scary. I have a need to know, but I shut off the radio several times today. I don’t have TV, so I get my news from social media and an AM radio station. I hope to read a little more and expand my horizons. When I graduated from college, I had lost my love for reading as there was always a classic book that needed to be analyzed and spun into a book report … enjoying a book lost its appeal for a very long time.

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      • I understand about the news. Like you I don’t get it from the TV, but through the internet. They paint such a grim picture of the current situation and feeds our fears with people fighting at stores and the cleared shelves.
        It’s going to be an interesting journey with this virus and hoping that health will be restored and maintained.
        Take a break from reading deep literature and dabble in light reading that interests you. A good place to start may be library books sales: such a variety of quality books for super cheap prices!

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      • I don’t miss TV at all – in fact I had just been taping movies when I still had TV and not watching anything else. I only had basic cable and I finally just decided to get rid of it altogether. The news is causing a frenzy and information is changing by the minute it seems. I’ve worked from home since 2011 and new work has suddenly gone to a crawl. I was hopeful to get back into reading once again and bought some books at the store, despite the fact that I do have books in a tub downstairs – my late mom and I enjoyed the same authors so she read faster than I did and there are many books downstairs yet to be enjoyed. I had a few titles I wanted to try; a fellow blogger has a feature about recent books and bought them. I got them read over the long holidays, but have to get back to reading again. I figure when I retire, I’ll go to the library when I get through these books and with their interloan system between libraries, it will be a win-win for sure.

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      • We got rid of cable a few years ago and no regrets. Kids were watching only one channel called Sprouts and then they morphed into an older kid’s channel. It’s lowered our monthly bill though!
        Hope you get to reading when your time opens us, and it shouldn’t be a chore. Stay well and healthy during this time.

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      • There are lots of shows I am hearing of geared for home schooling kids while schools are on hiatus. I am past the age to have kids and never had any, but would definitely home school too. In fact I wonder if more people will home school after this is all over? You do the same – it is a trying time now and we all have to stay strong, physically and emotionally.

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      • With schools out for the month or longer, parents are turning to homeschooling. I can imagine how tough it will be since it’s so sudden. I’ve been homeschooling for years and I still haven’t found my groove. Some days I feel so motivated and then there are those self-doubting days.
        On the other hand, it may be easier since they already have a set curriculum and routine. And lots of schools are offering online instruction. Isn’t it amazing how technology is making this instruction possible?!
        I’m always happy to know that homeschooling is supported! Thank you. It’s an interesting journey that is teaching me a great deal about goals of education and what I hope to cultivate in my children’s lives.
        You stay well and healthy too in this season!!

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      • I was surprised when my hair stylist adopted a little boy (left on her pastor’s doorstep by a woman with a drug problem and with a note regarding same) after she and her husband raised four daughters, all grown and one married, the other three in college. Jim and Jill decided since they’d never had a boy, this was their chance, but they did not like what is happening in the schools these days, and since they own their own small business are able to be flexible and someone is always home with him, or they bring him to the shop upstairs and have “school” upstairs in the room up there. It works. It’s better – school and peer pressure is terrible now. I myself was bullied as a 10-year old after my parents and I moved here to Michigan from Canada. I was bullied by not only classmates but teachers too! I hated school for many years … it continued almost to high school (and began in sixth grade). I sure wish we had home schooling back in those days – it would have been welcome.

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      • That’s an inspiring story o the pastor’s family. It could’ve turned out a sad story if the mother had decided another option and the pastor decided against it. I thought those stories only existed in movies, but now I know it happens in realy lie. Love it that there are good people out there.
        Homeschooling is great alternative to traditional schooling. It’s hard to wrap my head around it at times since I feel like I’m not doing an effective job.
        Bullies go way back…they’re always around. So sad how kids have to go through that kind of emotional pain. I was bullied too and had to switch schools. I feel your pain!

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      • Thank you. I don’t usually do the Wordless Wednesday, but I think I’m going to do it more – I tend to be quite wordy and picture-laden when I talk about my weekend walks … I’ll let the pictures do the talking instead!

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      • I appreciate your kind comment! Since I started blogging, I’ve become more interested in photography and trying to convey a feeling or thought through images. Don’t know how successful I’ve been at doing it, but it’s a lot of fun to try!
        I hope you try the Wordless Wednesday!

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      • Well the first story I ever heard about Thoreau (paraphrased to me) was how he walked to the city and it took all day – he then met up with folks who spent the day working and riding the expensive train and he compared notes with their day and what they experienced –
        It was an early call to watch the rat race and to stay in touch with the outdoors and nature – and that is what you are about big time !

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      • It is funny as I went to a nearby city last Saturday, as I learned of a park not even a mile away from where I often go, that I never knew was there. I had to walk through Wyandotte. I usually go just to the Detroit River at Bishop Park, and only occasionally do I walk up the other block to the business district. I did recently but it was early in the morning – went last Saturday and felt a little like a fish out of water as it was mid-day as I passed through and there was music on speakers in the coffee houses and eateries – essentially I had moved from a nature setting to a bustling downtown area in the course of 10 minutes. Yes, better to stay outside – here, since we have more snow and cold than you do in RVA, Michiganders are “all about” getting out and enjoying those first few warmish days that herald Spring (then we usually await a return of snow shortly thereafter).

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    • Thank you! I’m so happy that you like Ellis’ photo and the bird house picture. I will definitely let Ellis know…she’ll be happy and proud to hear.
      Those bird houses was an installation art piece at a art center last summer. I didn’t even notice it while we picnicked nearby, but saw it as we were heading out. If I can I’ll go back and see if it’s still there and get more info about it.
      Thank you for sharing my post with your friend Linda! What great timing that you were discussing Thoreau… wonder what you were talking about. His writing is the best!!!

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      • Well Linda and I were just chatting about how she has not yet read much from Thoreau and she likely has much in common with his views and all
        That – and I think she does!
        And tell Ellis hello from me
        – wishing you a great day!

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