Thoreau's Journal: 17-Feb-1841

Our work should be fitted to and lead on the time, as bud, flower, and fruit lead the circle of the seasons.

The mechanic works no longer than his labor will pay for lights, fuel, and shop rent. Would it not be well for us to consider if our deed will warrant the expense of nature? Will it maintain the sun’s light?

Our actions do not use time independently, as the bud does. They should constitute its lapse. It is their room. But they shuffle after and serve the hour.

1 comment:

Kaitlin D said...

This entry seriously confused me the first couple times I read it. It is worded in such a poetic way that it weaves around the meaning behind the analogies to laborers and flowers. Thoreau seems to be talking about the efficient and necessary use of time. I think he's telling us to use our time wisely, and not to serve the hour any longer, but plan so that our activities fill up only the necessary hours. We should only be productive enough to sustain life; otherwise the spare time should be used to concentrate on ourselves and our souls. Or something along those lines... Thoreau's tricky character with his analogies. We don't need time, time needs us. Because time is invented for the human drive for organization and control, how could a box we made contain us? The flower buds and dies with the seasons, but it does not try to do more within any given season- only what it needs to do. So we should do what we need to do, not try to beat the clock. We all have a purpose and should fulfill whatever innate goals God gives us.