Saturday, July 31, 2010

On Walden Pond

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

* Architecture *
"There is some of the same fitness in a man's building his own house that there is in a bird's building its own nest."

"I have thus a tight shingled and plastered house, ten feet wide by fifteen feet long, and eight-feet posts, with a garret and a closet, a large window on each side, two trap doors, one door at the end, and a brick fireplace opposite."

"When I came to build my chimney I studied masonry. My bricks being second-hand ones required to be cleaned with a trowel, so that I learned more than usual of the quantities of bricks and trowels. The mortar on them was fifty years old, and was said to be still growing harder; but this is one of those sayings which men love to repeat whether they are true or not. Such sayings themselves grow harder and adhere more firmly with age, and it would take many blows with a trowel to clean an old wiseacre of them."

* What I Lived For *

"I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born."

"The works of great poets have never yet been read by mankind, for only great poets can read them."

"Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. Moral reform is the effort to throw off sleep. Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness they would have performed something. . . . To be awake is to be alive."

* The Pond *
A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature."

* Brute Neighbors *
"There are also a clean race of frogs and tortoises, and a few muscles in it; muskrats and minks leave their traces about it . . ."

* Conclusion *

"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there."

"And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying, take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, and command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day."--Joshua 4:1-9
When I first read Walden it was the summer of 2004. I was so inspired by the book, I decided I was going to spend a day in the wilderness. So I started to hike up the canyon near the Provo Temple. Thoreau wrote in Walden, "The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!"
So I decided to leave the trail and blazed a new trail on the mountain face opposite of Squaw peak. When i reached a good place I picked up a piece of limestone. I like limestone. It's a memorial of what was once living, of what was once there. Petrified remnants of an ancient coral of a long since receded sea, limestone seemed a fitting memento to remember the day. I kept that rock until I took it to the shores of Walden pond and added it to the pile.

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."


grandma GiGI said...

If only I coulds quote and write as you two do. We are enjoying your vacation more than you know.Thanks for sharing.

Glenda said...

A wise man is able to able to learn from the teachers centuries before.

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