Tag Archives: thoreau


“What great interval is there between him who is caught in Africa and made a plantation slave of in the South, and him who is caught in New England and made a Unitarian minister?”

Henry David Thoreau

Today’s Journal Entry

They say Thoreau mumbled the words “moose” and “Indian” just before he died. Maybe he had a vision of his beloved Concord woods and their former inhabitants beckoning him to join them in a risen world. When someone asked him a week earler how he stood in his relations with God, he said a snowstorm meant more to him than God. With his trademark clarity intact, he had surrounded himself with what was vividly real to him, entering into Nature on his own terms.

When I visit my dying friend, though I see him surrounded by family, his smile and quiet humor still intact, I also see him beginning weeks of brutal radiation treatments to his brain that offer him only the illusion of control and borrowed time. I can’t help but wonder if the woods of so-called modern medicine many of us wander in at the end of our days contain anything as redemptive as Thoreau’s risen Garden.

Today’s Quote

“I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.”
–Henry David Thoreau

Today’s Epigram by Thoreau

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.


Today’s Poem: Intoxication


Henry David Thoreau said that a match was finally found for him: he fell in love with a shrub oak.

I always thought he was a few bricks short of a load.

Brilliant and prophetic, no doubt.

But where was the moistness, the fever dreams?

He had one human love — early and unrequited. Then he turned his attention to trees and the Merrimack river and barn swallows flying across the face of the moon.

Well, now that I think about it.

Maybe he was on to something.