Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why Thoreau Lived at Walden Pond

Walden's "Where I Lived, & What I Lived for," he describes an additional motive...

"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."

Notes from the conclusion of Walden

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. "

"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his compainions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults, even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may have perhaps some pleasant, thirlling glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's above; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. . . Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage . . . It is life near the bone where it is sweetest . . . Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.”

"I delight to come to my bearings -- not walk in procession with pomp and parade, in a conspicuous place, but to walk even with the Builder of the universe, if I may --not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century, but stand or sit thoughtfully while it goes by."

"As I stand over the insect crawling amid the pine needles on the forest floor, and endeavoring to conceal itself from my sight, and ask myself why it will cherish those humble thoughts and hide its head from me who might, perhaps, be its benefactor, and impart to its race some cheering information, I am reminded of the greater Benefactor and Intelligence that stands over me the human insect."

Other Famous Quotes from Walden

" The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

(Explanation from Sparknotes.com: This sentence, which appears in the first chapter, “Economy,” is perhaps the most famous quotation from Walden. It sums up the prophetic side of Thoreau that many people forget about; he was not just an experimenter living in isolation on Walden Pond, but also a deeply social and morally inspired writer with an ardent message for the masses. His use of the word “desperation” instead of a milder reference to discontentment or unhappiness shows the grimness of his vision of the mainstream American lifestyle. He believes that the monomaniacal pursuit of success and wealth has paradoxically cheapened the lives of those engaged in it, making them unable to appreciate the simpler pleasures enumerated in Walden. But the unpleasantness of American life, according to Thoreau, is more than simply financial or economic, despite the title of his first chapter. “Desperation” is also a word with deep religious connotations, the “lack of hope” that, according to Dante (one of Thoreau's favorite writers), was inscribed on the gates at hell's entrance. The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan's Protestant spiritual classic and a bestseller in the New England of Thoreau's day, features a hero who passes through a bleak lowland called the Slough of Despair on his way to meet God. By asserting that most humans have gotten stuck in despair, Thoreau is implying that they are unable to continue farther on their pilgrimage toward true redemption.)

From Conclusion: "It is not worth the while to go round the world to count the cats in Zanzibar."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Ramblings

It has been two weeks since I have posted anything. Since that time, we have had lovely visits from Shane to speak at the Perspectives course and Julie to go with me to the beach. We went to Bayshore Bella Vista and enjoyed good food and deep talks about life. Middle age is so grand.

When we came back to Corvallis, we went to the Darkside for Doubt. Did he do it or didn't he? That is the question. Julie thinks he did. I think he didn't. Mainly because I am a Jane and she is a Lizzy!! LOL!

I came back tired though and have been sick since I came back. I am reading Walden and listening to Uncle Tom's Cabin with my kids on a free LibriVox recording. It is the same guy reading it, and he is GOOD. I can't believe he would be an amateur! It is all free.

Sunday Seventeen Freewrite

  New Tea Pot and One of the Cups I have not written a freewrite for so long. I thought I would write in a different font. I am going to try...