Thoreau's Journal: 13-Nov-1851

A cold and dark afternoon, the sun being behind clouds in the west. The landscape is barren of objects, the trees being leafless, and so little light in the sky for variety. Such a day as will almost oblige a man to eat his own heart. A day in which you must hold on to life by your teeth. You can hardly ruck up any skin on Nature’s bones. The sap is down; she won’t peel. Now is the time to cut timber for yokes and ox-bows, leaving the tough bark on,—yokes for your own neck. Finding yourself yoked to Matter and to Time. Not a mosquito left. Not an insect to hum. Crickets gone into winter quarters. Friends long since gone there, and you left to walk on frozen ground, with your hands in your pockets. Ah, but is not this a time for deep inward fires?

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Drats. I'm being obtuse, again. The yoke - with the bark left on - for OUR necks. It's such a powerful imgae, but again I'm flailing away trying to make sense of it. Help? Please?
So, as I re-read it, is it the sense of trying to hang on because of the sensory deprivation and therefore the need to be 'yoked to Matter and to Time' so as to not do what? - drift away in despondency brought on by dark November? Heeeellllp.