Another dose of Thoreau

Since I don’t have anything original to say these days, here’s something from that man, Thoreau, again.

What is called genius is the abundance of life or health, so that whatever addresses the senses, as the flavor of these berries, or the lowing of that cow, which sounds as if it echoed along a cool mountain-side just before night, where odiferous dews perfume the air and there is everlasting vigor, serenity, and expectation of perpetual untarnished morning,—each sight and sound and scent and flavor,—intoxicates with a healthy intoxication. The shrunken stream of life overflows its banks, makes and fertilizes broad intervals, from which generations derive their sustenances. This is the true overflowing of the Nile. So exquisitely sensitive are we, it makes us embrace our fates, and, instead of suffering or indifference, we enjoy and bless. If we have not dissipated the vital, the divine, fluids, there is, then, a circulation of vitality beyond our bodies. The cow is nothing. Heaven is not there, but in the condition of the hearer. I am thrilled to think that I owe a perception to the commonly gross sense of taste, that I have been inspired through the palate, that these berries have fed my brain. After I had been eating these simple, wholesome, ambrosial fruits on this high hillside, I found my senses whetted. I was young again, and whether I stood or sat I was not the same creature.

I love that line there – “Heaven is not there, but in the condition of the hearer”.

…Coming out of town,—willingly as usual,—when I saw that reach of Charles River just above the depot, the fair, still water this cloudy evening suggesting the way to eternal peace and beauty, whence it flows, the placid, lake-like fresh water, so unlike the salt brine, affected me not a little. I was reminded of the way in which Wordsworth so coldly speaks of some natural visions or scenes “giving him pleasure.” This is perhaps the first vision of Elysium on this route from Boston. And just then I saw an encampment of Penobscots, their wigwams appearing above the railroad fence, they, too, looking up the river as they sat on the ground, and enjoying the scene. What can be more impressive than to look up a noble river just at evening,—and behold its placid water, reflecting the woods and sky, lapsing inaudibly towards the ocean; to behold as a lake, but know it as a river, tempting the beholder to explore it and his own destiny at once? Haunt of waterfowl. This was above the factories,—all that I saw. That water could never have flowed under a factory. How then could it have reflected the sky?

What can be more impressive indeed? And a dig at Wordsworth, to boot! Lol 🙂


Posted on July 13, 2006, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Always a man to go back to.

  2. dude,
    i have never read Thoreau (so I beg thy pardon :-)) ….
    now i am able to follow his rather well cultivated and rather long winded point from the first passage ….. but what on earth is the man going on about in the second!!!! some river, some water, some haunt, some waterfowl, and a factory to boot :-D!!!! if he got a point why aint he getting to it …. blade nan maga 🙂 … bhayankaram bore pandra 🙂

  3. In a few words, you depicted the difference between men and women, and their ways of sharing, or not sharing, their work experiences..I once asked a friend of mine, didn’t he mind that I never asked him about his work? And the reply was, “No..I don’t WANT to talk about my work!”

    Very nice piece AA.

    I am glad
    That the words have not died
    As you once said…
    I sighed
    To think that the words might be dead!
    Write more, about the thoughts you’ve had…

  4. Second the public library bit, though of course the military is by far the biggest recipient of the US tax $$.

    The absence of people on the roads is really depressing though. Feels so dead.

    Agree again, it’s particularly bad in the Bay Area, California in general seems to be built around the car..

  5. nice 🙂

    hows everything at ur end? all good?

  6. On the other days,
    It’s myself I see;
    My time spent here, whether I work or laze:
    Out of ten days, nine
    Show me only this life of mine,
    As I run like a rat in the maze.

    I think the best verse
    Is that which inspires something worse!

    I do enjoy your posts a LOT BOTW. Keep posting when you can. You have a way with words.

  7. Very nice read!

    > Lao Tzu said “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”.


  8. All the best with the new job, and the writing, which you do well anyway, and which I think you enjoy!

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