a previous existence
...Thoreau's Journal: 12-Jul-1851

Now at least the moon is full, and I walk alone, which is best by night, if not by day always. Your companion must sympathize with the present mood. The conversation must be located where the walkers are, and vary exactly with the scene and events and the contour of the ground. Farewell to those who will talk of nature unnaturally, whose presence is an interruption. I know but one with whom I can walk. I might as well be sitting in a bar-room with them as walk and talk with most. We are never side by side in our thoughts, and we cannot hear each other’s silence. Indeed, we cannot be silent. We are forever breaking silence, that is all, and mending nothing. How can they keep together who are going different ways!

I start a sparrow from her three eggs in the grass, where she had settled for the night. The earliest corn is beginning to show its tassels now, and I scent it as I walk,—a peculiar dry scent. (This afternoon I gathered ripe blackberries, and felt as if autumn had commenced.) Now perchance many sounds and sights only remind me that they once said something to me, and are so by association interesting. I go forth to be reminded of a previous existence, if perchance any memento of it is to be met with hereabouts. I have no doubt that Nature preserves her integrity. Nature is in as rude health as when Homer sang. We may at last by our sympathies be well…

As I return through the orchard, a foolish robin bursts away from his perch unnaturally, with the habits of a man. The air is remarkably still and unobjectionable on the hilltop, and the whole world below is covered as with a gossamer blanket of moonlight. It is just about as yellow as a blanket. It is a great dimly burnished shield with darker blotches on its surface. You have lost some light, it is true, but you have got this simple and magnificent stillness, brooding like genius.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Thoreau!

michael jameson said...

if the leaders of the world would only follow this comment! what splendor it would evoke!! people understanding one another about a common dilemma,even in silence its the dilemma that their thoughts are upon!, the problems would be solved, not the selfish greed of what will i get out of this or how will it effect me!. i myself will only share a walk in the woods with few!, the rest for the pub!. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com