Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - by Henry David Thoreau

could not hear the slightest sound from them. Thus, guided amid the
pine boughs rather by a delicate sense of their neighborhood than by
sight, feeling his twilight way, as it were, with his sensitive pinions,
he found a new perch, where he might in peace await the dawning of
his day.

As I walked over the long causeway made for the railroad through
the meadows, I encountered many a blustering and nipping wind, for
nowhere has it freer play; and when the frost had smitten me on one
cheek, heathen as I was, I turned to it the other also. Nor was it much
better by the carriage road from Bristerís Hill. For I came to town
still, like a friendly Indian, when the contents of the broad open
fields were all piled up between the walls of the Walden road, and
half an hour sufficed to obliterate the tracks of the last traveller. And
when I returned new drifts would have formed, through which I
floundered, where the busy northwest wind had been depositing the
powdery snow round a sharp angle in the road, and not a rabbitís
track, nor even the fine print, the small type, of a meadow mouse
was to be seen. Yet I rarely failed to find, even in midwinter, some
warm and springly swamp where the grass and the skunk-cabbage
still put forth with perennial verdure, and some hardier bird
occasionally awaited the return of spring.

Sometimes, notwithstanding the snow, when I returned from my
walk at evening I crossed the deep tracks of a woodchopper leading
from my door, and found his pile of whittlings on the hearth, and my
house filled with the odor of his pipe. Or on a Sunday afternoon, if I
chanced to be at home, I heard the cronching of the snow made by
the step of a long-headed farmer, who from far through the woods
sought my house, to have a social "crack"; one of the few of his
vocation who are "men on their farms"; who donned a frock instead
of a professorís gown, and is as ready to extract the moral out of
church or state as to haul a load of manure from his barn-yard. We
talked of rude and simple times, when men sat about large fires in
cold, bracing weather, with clear heads; and when other dessert
failed, we tried our teeth on many a nut which wise squirrels have
long since abandoned, for those which have the thickest shells are
commonly empty.

The one who came from farthest to my lodge, through deepest snows
and most dismal tempests, was a poet. A farmer, a hunter, a soldier,
a reporter, even a philosopher, may be daunted; but nothing can
deter a poet, for he is actuated by pure love. Who can predict his
comings and goings? His business calls him out at all hours, even
when doctors sleep. We made that small house ring with boisterous
mirth and resound with the murmur of much sober talk, making
amends then to Walden vale for the long silences. Broadway was
still and deserted in comparison. At suitable intervals there were
regular salutes of laughter, which might have been referred
indifferently to the last-uttered or the forth-coming jest. We made
many a "bran new" theory of life over a thin dish of gruel, which
combined the advantages of conviviality with the clear-headedness
which philosophy requires.

I should not forget that during my last winter at the pond there was
another welcome visitor, who at one time came through the village,
through snow and rain and darkness, till he saw my lamp through the
trees, and shared with me some long winter evenings. One of the last
of the philosophers-Connecticut gave him to the world-he peddled
first her wares, afterwards, as he declares, his brains. These he
peddles still, prompting God and disgracing man, bearing for fruit
his brain only, like the nut its kernel. I think that he must be the man
of the most faith of any alive. His words and attitude always suppose
a better state of things than other men are acquainted with, and he
will be the last man to be disappointed as the ages revolve. He has
no venture in the present. But though comparatively disregarded
now, when his day comes, laws unsuspected by most will take effect,
<- Previous | Table of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - by Henry David Thoreau

All Contents Copyright © All rights reserved.
Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page

In Association with