Move Over, Emerson.

1 June, 2010 § 1 Comment

I had the very good fortune to be able to spend the greater chunk of my Memorial Day afternoon with a friend, a Barbara Kingsolver novel (once I’m finished with Pigs in Heaven, I’ll only have two more BK works left before I’ve read her entire published canon), and a glistening pond. The water was the perfect temperature — not frigid like the Atlantic, nor as salty for that matter, but also not as warm as a bath tub, nor as sudsy — and the air was golden-green with pollen and summer light. The Perkins’ pond is located less than a third of a mile away from the main highway that cuts through our local town but due to the dense tree coverage protecting a lush haven around their sprawling 40-acre property, the distant hum of the passing car only adds a gentle element of white noise in the background. As I sat on the gray weather-beaten deck with my chin on my knees, soaking in the sight of cat-tails bobbing in the hot breeze and dragonflies scurrying over the surface of the glistening pond water, I realized, “Soul, you are truly at rest just now” — and it was contentedly so.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
– – henry david thoreau


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