Thoreau's Journal: 08-Nov-1857

When the air is thick and the sky overcast, we need not walk so far. We give our attention to nearer objects, being less distracted from them. I take occasion to explore some near wood which my walks commonly overshoot.

What a difference it makes between two ravines in other respects exactly similar that in the one there is a stream which drains it, while the other is dry!

I see nowadays in various places the scattered feathers of robins, etc., where some hawk or beast of prey has torn them to pieces.

I step over the slip-noose which some woodling has just set. How long since men set snares for partridges and rabbits?

Ah, my friends, I know you better than you think, and love you better, too. The day after never, we will have an explanation.


Cathy said...

Please, someone - give an opinion as to what Thoreau meant by his last sentence: " Ah, my friends, I know you better than you think, and love you better, too. The day after never, we will have an explanation."

Greg said...

Hi Cathy,

First, this is a passage that comes at the end of a long day's entry. Some of which speaks to his srpring-like thoughts in November. And right before this, Henry speaks of a chickadee, and not understanding what is says.

And then this close observation of nature, engendered by that overcast sky. When the vistas become closed, but another closer vista appears. And this one sees that other side of nature, the one of survival. Hawks killing robins. Woodlings setting traps for rabbits and partridges.

Yes, Henry says, I know you, nature, better than you think. I know that necessary side of November, of killing for survival. But, with the understanding of life, that spring-set of mind, I love it still, knowing such death is all a necessary part of creation.

And we may never have an explanation for it all. Or maybe the day after never. But it doesn't matter if we understand it. I love it anyways. Chickadees and hawks: they're all creation.

Or at least that's my take on it all. And how many times have I wished that I had the patience to type out the entire entry.

But I'm hoping that these tastes may urge on others to try a bigger helping.

Cathy said...

Greg, thanks so much for your explanation. Quite lovely. Touching.
I'm so grateful for your patience in sharing the passages that your time allows. Can't imagine my sidebar without you, er . . I mean Henry:0)