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


could ever be strange to me again.

"Mourning untimely consumes the sad; Few are their days in the
land of the living, Beautiful daughter of Toscar."

Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in
the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon
as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting;
when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many
thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. In those
driving northeast rains which tried the village houses so, when the
maids stood ready with mop and pail in front entries to keep the
deluge out, I sat behind my door in my little house, which was all
entry, and thoroughly enjoyed its protection. In one heavy thunder-
shower the lightning struck a large pitch pine across the pond,
making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from
top to bottom, an inch or more deep, and four or five inches wide, as
you would groove a walking-stick. I passed it again the other day,
and was struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark,
now more distinct than ever, where a terrific and resistless bolt came
down out of the harmless sky eight years ago. Men frequently say to
me, "I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want
to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially." I
am tempted to reply to such-This whole earth which we inhabit is
but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most
distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot
be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not
our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to
be the most important question. What sort of space is that which
separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have
found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer
to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many
men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-
house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five
Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of
our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as
the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that
direction.

This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a
wise man will dig his cellar.... I one evening overtook one of my
townsmen, who has accumulated what is called "a handsome
property"- though I never got a fair view of iton the Walden road,
driving a pair of cattle to market, who inquired of me how I could
bring my mind to give up so many of the comforts of life. I answered
that I was very sure I liked it passably well; I was not joking. And so
I went home to my bed, and left him to pick his way through the
darkness and the mud to Brighton-or Bright-town-which place he
would reach some time in the morning.

Any prospect of awakening or coming to life to a dead man makes
indifferent all times and places. The place where that may occur is
always the same, and indescribably pleasant to all our senses. For the
most part we allow only outlying and transient circumstances to
make our occasions. They are, in fact, the cause of our distraction.
Nearest to all things is that power which fashions their being. Next
to us the grandest laws are continually being executed. Next to us is
not the workman whom we have hired, with whom we love so well
to talk, but the workman whose work we are.

"How vast and profound is the influence of the subtile powers of
Heaven and of Earth!"

"We seek to perceive them, and we do not see them; we seek to hear
them, and we do not hear them; identified with the substance of
things, they cannot be separated from them."

"They cause that in all the universe men purify and sanctify their
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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