Thoreau

Henry David Sez


thoreau

One says to me, ‘I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the [railroad] cars and go to Fitchberg today and see the country.’ But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, Suppose we try who will get there first. The distance is thirty miles; the fare ninety cents. That is almost a day’s wages. I remember when wages were sixty cents a day for laborers on this very road. Well, I start now on foot, and get there before night; I have travelled at that rate by the week together. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there some time tomorrow, or possibly this evening, if you are lucky enough to get a job in season. Instead of going to Fitchburg, you will be working here the greater part of the day. And so, if the railroad reached around the world, I think that I should keep ahead of you; and as for seeing the country and getting the experience of that kind, I should have to cut your acquaintance altogether.
~

It is remarkable that there is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting a living; how to make getting a living not merely honest and honorable, but altogether inviting and glorious; for if getting a living is not so, then living is not.
~

It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?
~

With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is, the light that comes into the soul?
~

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. Wherever a man separates from the multitude and goes his own way, there is a fork in the road, though the travelers along the highway see only a gap in the paling.
~

Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master’s chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.
~~

See also A Timbered Choir by Wendell Berry
(Tip of the hat to Dave Pollard)


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