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The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 14
Henry David Thoreau

Volume 14 , August 1860 to 1861
Published by Peregrine Smith Books/UT in 1984
A Book Review by Bobby Matherne ©2004


To Read Other Volumes of Thoreau's Journals:
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7
Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10, Vol. 11, Vol. 12, Vol. 13,

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      I will miss these daily walks
      With the Norseman Thorer
      Through the ancient hills and rills
      Of Concord town.

The little ditty above, from my Volume 13 Review, I repeat because it aptly reflects my mood as I type my review of the last of Henry David Thoreau's 14 volume journal, all two million words, spanning his years from 1837 to 1861. Since Volume 1 covered the ten year period from 1837 to 1847, the rest of the Volumes took approximately one year each. My reading of Volume 1 began June 22, 2001 and it finished with Volume 14 on December 14, 2009, filling almost an entire decade of my life with daily walks with Henry as his invisible and silent companion, his very favorite type of companion, one who remains quiet, unseen, and who does not disturb his meditative walks in the least. I figure, after all these years, I can call him by his first name. With a hint of sadness I pen these final notes and say goodbye to my erstwhile daily companion, relegated henceforth to my bookshelf, always at the ready for another trip to Conatum, Mt. Monadnock, or Cape Cod, or a boat trip down the Assabet or Concord Rivers. If you, dear Reader, think it a daunting task to attack the reading of Henry's Journals, I assure you will be entranced by his ease of writing style and the years will fly by quickly.

On Sept. 20, 1860 he delivered his lecture, "The Succession of Forest Trees" to the Middlesex County Agriculture Society's annual cattle show. His preliminary and followup work on the subject matter of the lecture fills a large part of this Volume. His observations of how pine forests are seeded and grow up among former oak forests, and vice-versa, are compiled from dozen of observations of forests in various states of natural growth, cutting, planting, and reforestation. The type of oak reforestation of which Henry wrote was that done by ubiquitous planters of acorns, the squirrels. We will share what he has to say about these tireless forest planters.

August is the haying month and Henry shares with his view of the sky and the golden yellow valley below.

[page 4, 5] Aug. 1. Again, I sit on the brow of the orchard, and look northwest down the river valley (at mid-afternoon). There flows, or rests, the calm blue winding river, lake-like, with its smooth silver-plated sides, and wherever weeds extend across it, there too the silver plate bridges it, like a spirit's bridge across the Styx; but the rippled portions are blue as the sky. This river reposes in the midst of a broad brilliant yellow valley amid green fields and hills and woods, as if, like the Nanking or Yang-ho (or what-not), it flowed through an Oriental Chinese meadow where yellow is the imperial color. The immediate and raised edge of the river, with its willows and button-bushes and polygonums, is a light green, but the immediately adjacent low meadows, where the sedge prevails, is a brilliant and cheerful yellow, intensely, incredibly bright, such color as you never see in pictures; yellow of various tints, in the lowest and sedgiest parts deepening to so much color as if gamboge had been rubbed into the meadow there; the most cheering color in all the landscape; shaded with little darker isles of green in the midst of this yellow sea of sedge. Yet it is the bright and cheerful yellow, as of spring, and with nothing in the least autumnal in it. How this contrasts with the adjacent fields of red-top, now fast falling before the scythe!
      When your attention has been drawn to them, nothing is more charming than the common colors of the earth's surface. See yonder flashing field of corn through the shimmering air.

Henry observes a Solomon's-seal fruiting and we share with you a photo of what the plant and its berries look like to accompany his words about the plant.

[page 5] Aug. 1. See a berry (not ripe) of the two-leaved Solomon's-seal dropped at the mouth of a mouse or squirrel's hole, and observe that many are gone from these plants, as if plucked by mice.

While on a camping trip to Mount Monadnock, Henry came upon some mountain cranberries. Accustomed as I am to thinking of cranberries as growing in bogs, I would not have expected there to be any such berries on a mountain, but there are, "the prettiest berry, certainly the most novel and interesting to me, was the mountain cranberry, now grown but yet hard and with only its upper cheek red." (Page 14)

[page 15] Aug. 5. We stewed these berries for our breakfast the next morning, and thought them the best berry on the mountain, though, not being quite ripe, the berry was a little bitterish — but not the juice of it. It is such an acid as the camper-out craves.

One of the trees which I was curious about was the hemlock. Henry noted it among the plants he recorded in his Journal as "The Plants of the Summit" on Monadnock, namely, "Hemlock; two little ones with rounded tops." Turns out that the hemlocks are very common trees in the northeast, and one is the state tree of Pennsylvania. A healthy tea may be brewed from the leaves of the hemlock tree. The tree gets its name because the leaves smell a bit like the poisonous hemlock herb. Here's a photo of fresh growth on a hemlock tree.

"A stone's throw" — how many of us have heard that phrase used to describe a distance and how few have ever measured the distance of a stone's throw in order to record a distance. Henry did. First, let's describe for the twenty-first century reader that a rod is 5 meters (5.5 yards) long, so that ten rods is about a half-football field in length.

[page 39] Aug. 9. The basis of my map was the distance from the summit to the second camp, measured very rudely by casting a stone before. Pacing the distance of an easy cast, I found it to be about ten rods, and thirteen such stone's throws, or one hundred and thirty rods, carried me to the camp. . . . it was fifty rods from the summit to the ravine and eighty more to the camp.

Henry recorded a meteorological phenomenon of clouds forming as they approached to within a half-mile of the mountain's peak, growing larger as they got closer, and then dissolving as they passed over the summit. His explanation of the cloud formation explains equally well why clouds form in advance of an approaching cold front: in the cold front's case it is a cold mass of air that is moving towards warmer moist air instead of warm, moist air moving towards a cold mass of mountain.

[page 46, 47] Aug. 9. I gave this account of it to myself. They were not attracted to the summit, but simply generated there and not elsewhere. There would be a warm southwest wind blowing which was full of moisture, alike over the mountain and all the rest of the country. The summit of the mountain being cool, this warm air began to feel its influence at half a mile distance, and its moisture was rapidly condensed into a small cloud, which expanded as it advanced, and evaporated again as it left the summit.

The difference between eating fish sticks and going fishing should be obvious — both ways you get to enjoy fish, but only by going fishing can you enjoy the environment of the fish as well as the flavor of the fish. Henry reckons the same difference between encountering berries in a pudding versus in its natural environment.

[page 56] Aug. 22. When I used to pick the berries for dinner on the East Quarter hills I did not eat one till I had done, for going a-berrying implies more things than eating the berries. They at home got only the pudding: I got the forenoon out of doors, and the appetite for the pudding.

Henry often found Indian relics and admits to have expected to find them before the fact, as he did with the shards of a pot he found sticking out slightly from the bank after a heavy rain.

[page 59, 60] Aug. 22. It is curious that I had expected to find as much as this, and in this very spot too, before I reached it (I mean the pot). Indeed, I never find a remarkable Indian relic — and I find a good many — but I have first divined its existence, and planned the discovery of it. Frequently I have told myself distinctly what it was to be before I found it.

It seems that Henry lived his life backwards to the normal men of his time: what they saw as small stuff, Henry attended to, what they say as big stuff, their ordinary business, Henry never bothered with. Here he shares his views on this matter:

[page 104] Oct. 7. Many people have a foolish way of talking about small things, and apologize for themselves or another having attended to a small thing, having neglected their ordinary business and amused or instructed themselves by attending to a small thing; when, if the truth were known, their ordinary business was the small thing, and almost their whole lives were misspent, but they were such fools as not to know it.

One day I was passing a new walking path that had been installed in our town along a road I took daily. There were people walking briskly along the path for their exercise of the day. What was curious to me was that there were as many cars in the attached parking lot as there were walkers on the path. Each walker must have driven a mile or two to the path in order to walk a mile or two on the path. Consider the lessened impact on the environment if the walkers had simply gotten their exercise by leaving their cars at home and simply walked back and forth to the walking park. Instead they needed a machine to transport themselves back and forth to a place where they could walk. Henry thought likewise about the townspeople he called derisively, "cockneys", whom he contrasted to sturdy country folk who got their exercise by actually exerting themselves in work.

[page 111] Oct. 10. They are hopelessly cockneys everywhere who learn to swim with a machine. They take neither disease nor health, nay, nor life itself, the natural way. I see dumbbells in the minister's study, and some of their dumbness gets into his sermons. Some travelers carry them round the world in their carpetbags. Can he be said to travel who requires still this exercise? A party of school-children had a picnic at the Easterbrooks Country the other day, and they carried bags of beans from their gymnasium to exercise with there. I cannot be interested in these extremely artificial amusements. The traveler is no longer a wayfarer, with his staff and pack and dusty coat. He is not a pilgrim, but he travels in a saloon, and carries dumbbells to exercise with in the intervals of his journey.

"Ah, Science!" Henry seems to be saying in the next passage, "You give us the partial while we await the whole at which time your work can be discarded!"

[page 117] Oct. 13. The scientific differs from the poetic or lively description somewhat as the photographs, which we so wearing of viewing, from paintings and sketches, though this comparison is too favorable to science. All science is only a makeshift, a means to an end which is never attained. After all, the truest description, and that by which another living man can most readily recognize a flower, is the unmeasured and eloquent one which the sight of it inspires. No scientific description will supply the want of this, though you should count and measure and analyze every atom that seems to compose it.
      Surely poetry and eloquence are a more universal language than Latin which is confessedly dead. In science, I should say, all description is postponed till we know the whole, but then science itself will be cast aside.

One can only imagine that Henry is weary of looking at photographs because of the bland monochromatic Daguerreotypes which represented the highest quality of photography of his time. But it was not just the lacking of color, but a lack that no photography of today could provide. The closest approach is made by time-lapse photography which unfolds for us the entire development cycle of the plant. It was only with his imagination that Goethe, in Henry's time, could visual this kind of development cycle. He called this imagination the archetypal plant, the Urplanze.

Henry considers the scientific description of a plant to be like a man's passport, useful for little except to uniquely identify the man, but telling us little about his life as his friends and acquaintances know him, who have no need for a passport to identify him as their friend.

[page 119] Oct. 13. The men of science merely look at the object with sinister eye, to see if it corresponds with the passport, and merely visé [RJM: i.e. inspect] or make some trifling additional mark on its passport and let it go; but the real acquaintances and friends which it may have in foreign parts do not ask to see nor think of its passport.

Here we encounter our first passage about the "Succession of Forest Trees" in which Thoreau drolly compares oak trees to settlers and pine trees to pioneers.

[page 130] Oct. 16. Thus this double forest was advancing to conquer new (or old) land, sending forward their children on the wings of the wind, while already the oak seedlings from the oak wood behind had established themselves beneath the old pines ready to supplant them. The pines were the vanguard. They stood up to fire with their children before them, while the little oaks kneeled behind and between them. The pine is the pioneer, the oak the more permanent settler who lays out his improvements. Pines are by some considered lower in the scale of trees — in the order of development — than oak.
      While the pines were blowing into the pastures from this narrow edging, the animals were planting the acorns under the pines.

"Let's hear for the squirrels!" Henry seems to be saying next. Rarely have I heard anyone praise squirrels, much less in such detail as he goes through. My dad complained that the squirrels were eating all of his pecans from his backyard tree, right up until the time he began shooting them one by one with his air rifle. Nothing tastes quite as good as his pecan-fed squirrel sauce piquante did. He told us we were eating his pecan crop. Henry rather sees the squirrel as a tree farmer, even if it is an inadvertent case of planting resulting from the squirrel's penchant for storing its booty in the ground where the seeds and nuts may eventually take sprout.

[page 138] Oct. 17. A squirrel goes a-chest-nutting perhaps as far as the boys do, and when he gets there he does not have to shake or club the tree or wait for frost to open the burs; he walks [ ? ] up to the bur and cuts it off, and strews the ground with them before they have opened. And the fewer they are in the wood the more certain it is that he will appropriate every one, for it is no transient afternoon's picnic with him, but the pursuit of his life, a harvest that he gets as surely as the farmer his corn.
      Now it is important that the owners of these wood-lots should know what is going on here and treat them and the squirrels accordingly. They little dream of what the squirrels are about; know only that they get their seed-corn in the adjacent fields, and encourage their boys to shoot them every day, supplying them with powder and shot for this purpose. In newer parts of the country they have squirrel-hunts on a large scale and kill many thousands in a few hours, and all the neighborhood rejoices.
      Thus it appears that by a judicious letting Nature alone merely we might recover our chestnut wood in the course of a century.

There used to be passenger pigeon hunts on a large scale which killed thousands of pigeons in a few hours. It was easy to do because these particular pigeons congregated in very large flocks. Plus they were considered a delicacy (squab). What no one knew at the time was that these large flocks were absolutely essential for the survival of the passenger pigeon species — if a flock got below about three thousand, the pigeons would no longer reproduce. Thus it came about that large scale pigeon hunts went on until the day arrived when the last flock of over three thousand was thinned out and no more passenger pigeons were born. Soon the species disappeared off the face of the Earth. We human learned from that experience and now factor the mating and reproduction patterns into how many wild, sport animals are harvested for food. A recent example: our redfish population in coastal Louisiana had been decimated until it was discovered that redfish had to be over 26" long before it swam out to the Gulf waters to spawn. A simple creel limit of one redfish over 26" had led to an abundance of redfish for sport and eating once again.

Henry metaphorically "unrolls the papyrus of Concord" for us by counting rings on the stumps left on trees cut down previously.

[page 152] Oct. 19. Thus I can easily find in countless numbers in our forests, frequently in the third succession, the stumps of the oaks which were cut near the end of the last century. Perhaps I can recover thus generally the oak woods of the beginning of the last century, if the land has remained woodland. I have an advantage over the geologist, for I can not only detect the order of events but the time during which they elapsed, by counting the rings on the stumps. Thus you can unroll the rotten papyrus on which the history of the Concord forest is written.

His comment below of how little we know of the two hundred years of Concord life preceding him is insightful. The people of Concord were too busy settling in to have time to record what they were doing. My wife and I are just completing a move from one house to another. It was a short trip, only a couple of blocks, but we literally took everything we owned with us on this trip. Still settling in, I am too busy to spend much time writing while workers are banging away in different parts of the house.

[page 152] Oct. 19. It is easier far to recover the history of the trees which stood here a century or more ago than it is to recover the history of the men who walked beneath them. How much do we know — how little more can we know — of these two centuries of Concord life?

How did Henry read an oak? He gives us an example here.

[page 155] Oct. 19. First, by examining the twigs (vide Coultas) you tell the age and the number of shoots and the leaves and the various accidents of the tree for half a dozen years past, — can read its history very minutely; and at length, when it is cut down, you read its ancient and general history on its stump.

Here is a passage in which a footnote tells us that it was "evidently written for his lecture on the Succession of Forest Trees":

[page 199] Oct. 31. P. M. Yes, these dense and stretching oak forests, whose withered leaves now redden and rustle on the hills for many a New England mile, were all planted by the labor of animals. For after some weeks of close scrutiny I cannot avoid the conclusion that our modern oak woods sooner or later spring up from an acorn, not where it has fallen from its tree, for that is the exception, but where it has been dropped or placed by an animal. Consider what a vast work these forest-planters are doing!
      I do not state the facts exactly in the order in which they were observed, but select out of very numerous observations extended over a series of years the most important ones, and describe them in their natural order.

On page 257 Nov. 22. Henry notes, "The Linaria Canadensis is still freshly blooming. It is the freshest flower I notice now." The flower is shown in a photo for you. With his emphasis on the Succession of Forest Trees, Henry has rarely commented on the flowering plants in this volume.

In this next passage Henry invites to consider how in the New England winters, even though the richness of summer is gone, the world is yet rife with beauty. He chronicles his own Spartan life-style with no wine in his cellar, but long draughts of vintage air to breathe.

[page 259] Nov. 22. It is glorious to consider how independent man is of all enervating luxuries; and the poorer he is in respect to them, the richer he is. Summer is gone with all its infinite wealth, and still nature is genial to man. Though he no longer bathes in the stream, or reclines on the bank, or plucks berries on the hills, still he beholds the same inaccessible beauty around him. What though he has no juice of the grape stored up for him in cellars; the air itself is wine of an older vintage, and far more sanely exhilarating, than any cellar affords. It is ever some gouty senior and not a blithe child that drinks, or cares for, that so famous wine.

He disdains tropical delicacies and prefers the fruits and nuts of his native Concord, especially the apples, saying, "You cannot now find an apple but it is sweet to taste." (Page 260)

[page 265] Nov. 24. The bitter-sweet of a white oak acorn which you nibble in a bleak November walk over the tawny earth is more to me than a slice of imported pineapple. We do not think much of table-fruits. They are especially for aldermen and epicures. They do not feed the imagination. That would starve on them. These wild fruits, whether eaten or not, are a dessert for the imagination. The south may keep her pineapples, and we will be content with our strawberries.

As I grew up I came to dislike immensely bowls of wax fruit which seemed ubiquitous at my relatives' homes when I was a child. I never could bring myself to buy such fruit when I owned my own home. The value of their look attracted me, but the complete absence of life in them turned me off. When I visited my friends Warren and Corinne Liberty in Ukiah, California about a decade ago, I was charmed by the bowl of fruit which they had on display in their kitchen. I wanted such a bowl in my kitchen, all fresh fruit, on perpetual display, which meant perpetual replacement of fruit. Around the same time, I began a Bio-dynamical mulch bed and the two items seemed made for each other: the old fruit which didn't get eaten could provide live organic material for the mulch bed. I soon purchased a Portofino Pear bowl which made a wonderful fruit bowl in which to display our fresh fruit. As thanks for Corinne for giving me the idea and impetus to begin creating our own fruit bowl, I sent her an identical pear bowl. Since then, we always have fresh fruit filling our bowl, ready to eat at a moment's whim. Because the pears on the outside of the bowl had a blush of red color on the yellow pears, I began selecting Bartlett pears with red blushes on them and soon noticed that the flesh under the red blush had a delicious variation in flavor from the rest of the pear.

Henry gave me the idea for sharing this story with you because in this next passage he talks on the enjoyment of the sight of fruit as well as their taste and nutrition.

[page 273, 274] Nov. 26. The value of these wild fruits is not in the mere possession or eating of them, but in the sight or enjoyment of them. The very derivation of the word" fruit" would suggest this. It is from the Latin fructus, meaning that which is used or enjoyed. If it were not so, then going a-berrying and going to market would be nearly synonymous expressions. Of course it is the spirit in which you do a thing which makes it interesting, whether it is sweeping a room or pulling turnips. Peaches are unquestionably a very beautiful and palatable fruit; but the gathering of them for the market is not nearly so interesting as the gathering of huckleberries for your own use.

The enjoyment of blackberry picking cannot be purchased at the supermarket, it can only be found in the field where the berries grow. When three of my grandchildren refused to eat a blackberry picked from my bush, I felt sorry for them because they will never, no matter how rich they become, be able to purchase the joy of blackberry picking and will not know the joy they missed. There is a wonderful paradox about blackberry picking: if you send a teenage boy or girl out picking blackberries, they will return in an hour with a bucket of berries, but if you send them out together, it takes about two hours to get one bucket of berries.

[page 277] Nov. 28. 1860. It is a grand fact that you cannot make the finer fruits or parts of fruits matter of commerce. You may buy a servant or slave, in short, but you cannot buy a friend. You can't buy the finer part of any fruit — i. e. the highest use and enjoyment of it. You cannot buy the pleasure which it yields to him who truly plucks it; you can't buy a good appetite even.

Henry knew about primary property(1) and valued it very highly, as we can tell from this next passage. How rare it is today to find a person of such excellent common sense among one's acquaintances! Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, "The evil men do live after them, the good is oft interred in their bones." It is one's primary property which is the good men do which in deed lives after them, lives long after their houses, barns, woodlots, and corporations have been interred in the ground.

[page 281, 282] Nov. 29. 1860. If a man has spent all this days about some business, by which he has merely got to be rich, as it is called, i. e., has got much money, many houses and barns and woodlots, then his life has been a failure, I think; but if he has been trying to better his condition in a higher sense than this, has been trying to invent something, to be somebody, — i. e., to invent and get a patent for himself, — so that all may see his originality, though he should never get above board, — and great inventors, you know, commonly die poor, — I shall think him comparatively successful.

Henry talks about animals and plants vying for "possession of the planet" in the next passage. It my theory that each plant, in phylogenetic terms, did intend, for a time, to take possession of the planet, in what are called "plant blooms". Take the simple plant, algae. When it first came into existence, it had limitless food in the waters around it and ample sunlight, but not a single predator. It grew without limits until soon an animal arose who was able to eat the algae and it found itself blessed with limitless food and no predators and it began to "bloom." Over aeons each plant and animal which “bloomed” eventually found itself having to combat newly-arrived predators and find a way to survive in severely constricted conditions compared to its "bloom times." We arrive on this planet after a myriad of such cascades of bloom and bust times and find a homeostasis of plants and animals with minor changes still going on, mostly disappearance of species of plants and animals whose time has past, who are unable to find a niche in which they can continue to exist, such as the roc, the dodo, the passenger pigeon, etc.

[page 330, 331] March 18, 1861. When we consider how soon some plants which spread rapidly, by seeds or roots, would cover an area equal to the surface of the globe, how soon some species of trees, as the white willow, for instance, would equal in mass the earth itself, if all their seeds became full-grown trees, how soon some fishes, we are tempted to say that every organism, whether animal or vegetable, is contending for the possession of the planet, and if any one were sufficiently favored, supposing it still possible to grow, as at first, it would at length convert the entire mass of globe into its own substance.

On November 3, 1861, Henry made his last observation of nature, describing to us how we can tell from which direction a stormy wind came by reading the lines in the gravel of a railroad.

[page 346] Nov. 3. After a violent easterly storm in the night, which clears up at noon, I notice that the surface of the railroad causeway, composed of gravel, is singularly marked, as if stratified like some slate rocks, on their edges, so that I can tell within a small fraction of a degree from what quarter the rain came.

Henry David Thoreau left behind a wealth of his primary property. He left behind no houses, no barns, no woodlots, no corporations, nothing that could rot, rust, or burn. Ideas. That was what he left behind and those ideas fill the minds and lives of millions of people yet today, people who haven't read or even heard of Henry, but who benefit from the National Parks he inspired, the conservation of trees, animals, and plants of all kinds, and from his love of the out of doors life. He was truly a rich man by his own accounts and he has bequeathed his riches and his richness to every one of us. Want to feel some of that richness on a personal level? Pick up one of his Journals and go on a walk through Concord with him, not to look at the buildings in the town, but to walk between the buildings out to the woodlots, the hilltops, the streams, Walden Pond, Flint's Pond, oar your way down the Assabet, glimpse the gossamer covering everything on gossamer days, watch the bream building their nest in the water, pick huckleberries, and enjoy that crisp flavor of a wild apple you plucked yourself from a tree no man but Henry knew existed.

Henry rarely mentions any member of his family. I recall only one mention of his father and several mentions of his mother. He talks about all the wildlife he sees and encounters during his walks, but rarely about himself. We come to the end of his Journal entries on November 1861 with the knowledge that he died the very next year, and yet he made little mention of his own health during the last year. Here is the one exception — he is sick but worried if a tree will recover from the huge burden of snow on its limbs:

[page 307] Jan. 3, 1861. As I was confined to the house by sickness, and the tree had already been four or five days in that position, I despaired of its ever recovering. . . .

One can only suppose that the sparseness of journal entries during 1861 was due to his being unwell, perhaps causing him to miss the months between May and November. Harding clears up the mystery for us.

[page vii, Introduction by Walter Harding] As the journal approaches its end, we find a very abbreviated account of his trip to Minnesota in May and June of 1861, when upon doctor's advice he was searching for a better climate to soothe his tubercular lungs. . . . In actuality Thoreau took lengthy notes on this journey, but they were left so cryptically abbreviated that they were omitted by the 1906 editors of the journal. They may be found in their entirety in my Thoreau's Minnesota Journey (Thoreau Society Booklet #16).

Harding tells us that Henry would rejoice today to know that his beloved Concord, "despite a much larger population, is more wooded and wild than it was in his own day, and the deer and the beaver that he never saw there have returned in great numbers. Even the mighty moose occasionally strays through its forests." (Page vii) No doubt, too, the mighty Thorer the Norseman, the man we know as Henry, occasionally strays through those same forests in spirit form today.

So long, dear friend. I've enjoyed our walks as your silent companion. Thanks for allowing me along to notice the aspects of New England woods I missed during the four years I lived there. My inspection of the woods was done on a trail bike at about 20 mph, not at the slow walking pace you used, so I missed so much of the local flora by speeding right past it. Plus, my ability to recognize the plants I found when I did stop was minimal. Through your impressive knowledge of the Latin names for the plants you encountered, I was able to search for images of the exact plant you were talking about and to see them as they are, some 150 years in the future of the time you lived in, but I doubt the plants of Concord have changed much in that time.

I'm standing here by the side of the path and watching as you walk away, giving you the "long goodbye" which the Japanese are wont to do. I'm standing here as you make a slight turn and drift out of my sight. A pain in my cheeks cause me to squeeze my eyes and tears form in them as I turn and head back to the future, back to the twenty-first century, my fingers resting on my computer keyboard, knowing that I will not see you again, but also that I will never forget you and all the things you have allowed me to learn from you during our walks together for almost ten years.

---------------------------- Footnotes -----------------------------------------

Footnote 1. Primary property, according to Galambos' unique definition is "all the derivatives of one's life of thought". See his book, Sic Itur Ad Astra.

Return to text directly before Footnote 1.



To Read Other Volumes of Thoreau's Journals:
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, Vol. 7
Vol. 8, Vol. 9, Vol. 10, Vol. 11, Vol. 12, Vol. 13,

Any questions about this review, Contact: Bobby Matherne


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