work our mines
...Thoreau's Journal: 13-Jan-1852

To please our friends and relatives we turn out our silver ore in cartloads, while we neglect to work our mines of gold known only to ourselves far up in the Sierras, where we pulled up a bush in our mountain walk, and saw the glittering treasure.


michael jameson said...

make yourself happy before you can make others happy, unless making others happy is what makes you happy!.

Northland said...

This quote is the core of the overall Journal paragraph. It is that we must "aspire to do better" - while we show our friends our silver material possessions or base thoughts, which they flatter us about, we can show them the gold of our inner selves "known only to ourselves".