Sound Acorns and the Drowning Test
Thoreau's Journal: 18-Apr-1859

I am looking for acorns these days, to sow on the Walden lot, but can find very few sound ones. Those which the squirrels have not got are mostly worm-eaten and quite pulverized or decayed. A few which are cracked at the small (end), having started last fall, have yet life in them, perhaps enough to plant. Even these look rather discolored when you cut them open, but Buttrick says they will do for pigeon-bait. So each man looks at things from his own point of view. I found by trial that the last or apparently sound acorns would always sink in water, while the rotten ones would float, and I have accordingly offered five cents a quart for such as will sink.


Anonymous said...

"So each man looks at things from his own point of view."

It's interesting how in the midst of his seemingly random observations, Thoreau comes out with such profound and true statements that are just as prevalent today as they were when he wrote them. Hence, the nature of philosophy...

Anonymous said...

thank you!

I read it and print it out to read as a paper form. If you don't permit it I will destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Unless you plan on selling it or otherwise claiming Henry's text to be your own, I see no problem with you having a personal hardcopy of some text from his Journal.

Ah, the era of lawyers and lawsuits. Who needs Big Brother when you have them to keep us in our alleged places?

Julie Samuels said...

I find the statement "Each man looks at things from his own point of view" very true to both Thoreau, as well as society in general. If this were not true, there would be no variation in the world, or alternate opinions.

I often find that there are some things I treasure, while others could easily disgard them. This goes along with the saying, "one man's trash is another's treasure".

Thoreau finds solitude to be rewarding, while others might find it lonely. However, never does Thoreau force his views on his audience. He merely puts them out there, and hopes people will consider his beliefs.

Brian Mueller said...

Thoreau's drowning test seems to support his idea that experience in addition to knowledge is important. Through trial, he devised his own method of determining which acorns were "sound ones" for his uses on the Walden lot. Thoreau's style of writing suggests his own ideas, but also encourages the audience to go beyond and make their own opinions. Similarly, Thoreau knew how to tell which acorns were clearly rotten based on their appearance, yet he furthered his analysis through the development of his own drowning test.