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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau


bunch of grass plucked and thrown away, even as far off as the
railroad, half a mile distant, or by the lingering odor of a cigar or
pipe. Nay, I was frequently notified of the passage of a traveller
along the highway sixty rods off by the scent of his pipe.

There is commonly sufficient space about us. Our horizon is never
quite at our elbows. The thick wood is not just at our door, nor the
pond, but somewhat is always clearing, familiar and worn by us,
appropriated and fenced in some way, and reclaimed from Nature.
For what reason have I this vast range and circuit, some square miles
of unfrequented forest, for my privacy, abandoned to me by men?
My nearest neighbor is a mile distant, and no house is visible from
any place but the hill-tops within half a mile of my own. I have my
horizon bounded by woods all to myself; a distant view of the
railroad where it touches the pond on the one hand, and of the fence
which skirts the woodland road on the other. But for the most part it
is as solitary where I live as on the prairies. It is as much Asia or
Africa as New England. I have, as it were, my own sun and moon
and stars, and a little world all to myself. At night there was never a
traveller passed my house, or knocked at my door, more than if I
were the first or last man; unless it were in the spring, when at long
intervals some came from the village to fish for pouts-they plainly
fished much more in the Walden Pond of their own natures, and
baited their hooks with darkness-but they soon retreated, usually
with light baskets, and left "the world to darkness and to me," and
the black kernel of the night was never profaned by any human
neighborhood. I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of
the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and
candles have been introduced.

Yet I experienced sometimes that the most sweet and tender, the
most innocent and encouraging society may be found in any natural
object, even for the poor misanthrope and most melancholy man.
There can be no very black melancholy to him who lives in the midst
of nature and has his senses still. There was never yet such a storm
but it was Aeolian music to a healthy and innocent ear. Nothing can
rightly compel a simple and brave man to a vulgar sadness. While I
enjoy the friendship of the seasons I trust that nothing can make life
a burden to me. The gentle rain which waters my beans and keeps
me in the house today is not drear and melancholy, but good for me
too. Though it prevents my hoeing them, it is of far more worth than
my hoeing. If it should continue so long as to cause the seeds to rot
in the ground and destroy the potatoes in the low lands, it would still
be good for the grass on the uplands, and, being good for the grass, it
would be good for me. Sometimes, when I compare myself with
other men, it seems as if I were more favored by the gods than they,
beyond any deserts that I am conscious of; as if I had a warrant and
surety at their hands which my fellows have not, and were especially
guided and guarded. I do not flatter myself, but if it be possible they
flatter me. I have never felt lonesome, or in the least oppressed by a
sense of solitude, but once, and that was a few weeks after I came to
the woods, when, for an hour, I doubted if the near neighborhood of
man was not essential to a serene and healthy life. To be alone was
something unpleasant. But I was at the same time conscious of a
slight insanity in my mood, and seemed to foresee my recovery. In
the midst of a gentle rain while these thoughts prevailed, I was
suddenly sensible of such sweet and beneficent society in Nature, in
the very pattering of the drops, and in every sound and sight around
my house, an infinite and unaccountable friendliness all at once like
an atmosphere sustaining me, as made the fancied advantages of
human neighborhood insignificant, and I have never thought of them
since. Every little pine needle expanded and swelled with sympathy
and befriended me. I was so distinctly made aware of the presence of
something kindred to me, even in scenes which we are accustomed
to call wild and dreary, and also that the nearest of blood to me and
humanest was not a person nor a villager, that I thought no place
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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