How much I may have lost!
...Thoreau's Journal: 30-Mar-1852

Having occasion to-day to put up a long ladder against the house, I found, from the trembling of my nerves with the exertion, that I had not exercised that part of my system this winter. How much I may have lost! It would do me good to go forth and work hard and sweat. Though the frost is nearly out of the ground, the winter has not broken up in me. Perhaps we grow older and older till we no longer sympathize with the revolution of the seasons, and our winters never break up.

To-day, as frequently for some time past, we have a raw east wind, which is rare in winter. I see as yet very little, perhaps no, new growth in the plants in open fields, but only the green radical leaves which have been kept fresh under the snow; but if I should explore carefully about their roots, I should find some expanding buds and even new-rising shoots. The farmers are making haste to clear up their wood-lots, which they have cut off the past winter, to get off the tops and brush, that they may not be too late and injure the young sprouts and lose a year’s growth in the operation, also that they may be ready for their spring work.

From the Cliffs I see that Fair Haven Pond is open over the channel of the river,—which is in fact thus only revealed, of the same width as elsewhere, running from the end of Baker’s Wood to the point of the Island. The slight current there has worn away the ice. I never knew before exactly where the channel was. It is pretty central. I perceive the hollow sound from the rocky ground as I tread and stamp about the Cliffs, and am reminded how much more sure children are to notice this peculiarity than grown persons. I remember when I used to make this a regular part of the entertainment when I conducted a stranger to the Cliffs.


michael jameson said...

as our bodies and minds grow older we find our responses are slower,we need to move and stretch more,the natural spring in our step has to be worked on or forced,but our minds as children experience so much more,its fresh and new yet we disregard so much as having no meaning,that is the trade off,as we grow older we attache meaning, i find music in a river it sings to me,as a child it was just water noise. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com

T.S. said...

When I grow old I am much like winter, but underneath am growing new buds. If I lean a ladder (self-examination, the observed life)) against my house (my inner self), I can come up to a higher level of consciousness.

Even though I discover I have buds sprouting under the snow of old age, I still learn that I am weak.

vanjulio said...

How much is lost by never succumbing to the winter and continue running indoors on the treadmill? Or how much is lost by living artificially in front of a computer display all year long? We should take solace in the season and adapt ourselves accordingly. Nature's cycles define us. I don't think we have the data to even begin to understand its impact on our body and mind.