Thoreau's Journal: 4-Apr-1853

The other day, when I had been standing perfectly still some ten minutes, looking at a willow which had just blossomed, some rods in the rear of martial Mile’s house, I felt eyes on my back and, turning round suddenly, saw the heads of two men who had stolen out of the house and were watching me over a rising ground as fixedly as I the willow. They were studying man, which is said to be the proper study of mankind, I nature, and yet, when detected, they felt the cheapest of the two.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And yet, look! Thoreau himself is "studying man" in this very passage--studying/writing about himself studying the willow; studying the other men studying him; and then reflecting on all the people involved, even evaluating them. Whatever Thoreau is studying, it is as much people-studying-and-not-studying nature as it is nature itself, but ususally it is all of this at the same time.