https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/166071074298/walden-with-an-introduction-and-annotations-byWhat nature provides is scale and context, ways to figure out who and how big we are and what we want. It provides silence, solitude, darkness: the rarest commodities we know. It provides reality, in place of the endless electronic images and illusions that we consider the miracle of the moment.
___Bill McKibben from the Introduction to Thoreau’s Walden
Simply put, I am humbled by the reading experience. Not only was Thoreau a smart and gifted writer, but he had enough courage to experiment and live alone, in the woods, and off the land. Even though the span of two years does seem brief, it was long enough for Thoreau to accumulate wisdom to share. And it seems we all could use a bit of that these days.…Moreover, with wisdom we shall learn liberality…
There were chapters extremely difficult to stay interested in. At times I doubted the book’s ascribed greatness. But the conclusion found in the last chapter was worth the trouble and the time it took to get me there. If one listens to the faintest but constant suggestions of his genius, which are certainly true, he sees not to what extremes, or even insanity, it may lead him; yet that way, as he grows more resolute and faithful, his road lies…If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal,—that is your success.
A relaxed reading of four to six pages each morning was my practice and my meditation. Rewards, though never frequent, did surprise me and gave me much to think about on any given day.…We can never have enough of Nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor…We need to see our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander…Compassion is a very untenable ground.
No one can accuse me of exhibiting too much compassion. I am guilty of other transgressions, far too numerous to list on this page. But Thoreau offers us a yardstick from which we might measure our growth as individuals. I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one…I learned this, at least, by my experiment that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours…
Here, here. I concur and continue to go boldly for my grave.