JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIII, No. 1

Excerpts from Thoreau's Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

October 2006

***********************************************************
By Way of Introduction:

Welcome to the 8th year year of Journal Drippings. For those new to this monthly Thoreau e-mail digest: I began this project in 1997, and it's my attempt to explore and share the sunset (or is it sunrise?) mind of Henry David Thoreau, as reflected in his 14-volume, 7000+ page journal. I am now just beyond the half-way point. The more familiar aphorisms and otherwise great lines that later found their way into his better known essays or in Walden have been omitted. This is the Thoreau you may not have met. Enjoy!....and please pass this on to others who might be interested.

*************************************************************

"Says I to myself" should be the motto of my journal."
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

No mortal is alert enough to be present at the first dawn of spring, but he will presently discover that vegetation has awaked some days at least before. (March 1857)

************

To compliment often implies an assumption of superiority in the complimenter. It is in fact a subtle detraction. (March 27)

************

Often I can give the truest and most interesting account of any adventure I have had after years have elapsed, for then I am not confused, only the most significant facts surviving in my memory. Indeed, all that continues to interest me after such a lapse of time is sure to be pertinent, and I may safely record all that I remember. (Same)

************

He says the 'otter is our largest wild animal.' What of the deer? (March 29)

************

Does he chiefly own the land who coldly uses it and gets corn and potatoes out of it or he who loves it and gets inspiration from it? How rarely a man's love for nature becomes a ruling principle with him, like a youth's affection for a maiden, but more enduring! All nature is my bride. (April 23)

************

I have the same objection to killing a snake that I have to the killing of any other animal, yet the most humane man that I know never omits to kill one. (April 26)

************

Also, a sermon is needed on economy of fuel. What right has my neighbor to burn ten chords of wood, when I burn only one? Thus robbing our half-naked town of this precious covering. Is he so much colder than I?...He who burns the most wood on his hearth is the least warmed by the sight of it growing. Let men tread gently on Nature. Let us religiously burn stumps and worship in groves, while Christian vandals lay waste the forest temples to build miles of meeting-houses [churches] and horse-sheds and feed their box stoves. (Same)

************

[Speaks of the first "ringing of the toads," which most do not hear unlike the ringing of the bells]: "A new reign has commenced. Bufo, the First, has ascended to his throne, the surface of the earth, by the South Wind. Bufo, the Double-Chinned, inflates his throat. Attend to his message. Take off your greatcoats, swains! and prepare for the summer campaign. Hop a few paces closer to your goals. The measures I shall advocate are warmth, moisture, and low-flying insects. (May 1)

************

It is foolish for a man to accumulate material wealth, chiefly horses and land. Our stock in life, our real estate, is that amount of thought which we have had which we have thought out. What else adds to my possessions and makes me rich in all lands? If you have done any work with these finest tools, the imagination, fancy, and reason, it is a new creation...and a possession forever. You have laid up something against a rainy day. You have to that extent cleared the wilderness (Same)

************

M. also told of a crazy fellow who got into the Belfry of the Lincoln Church with an axe and began to cut the spire down, but was stopped after he had done considerable damage. (May 4--the 150th anniversary approaching!)

************

Within a week, I have had made a pair of corduroy pants which cost when done $1.60. They are of a peculiar clay color, reflecting the light from various portions of their surface. They have this advantage, that, beside being very strong, they will look about as well three months hence from now,- or as ill, some would say. Most of my friends are disturbed by my wearing them...others would not wear it, durable and cheap as it is, because it is worn by the Irish.
(May 8)

************

How rarely I can meet with a man who can be free, even in thought! We live according to rule. Some men are bed-ridden; all world-ridden. I take my neighbor, an intellectual man, out into the woods, and invite him to take a new and absolute view of things, to empty, clean out of his thoughts all institutions of men and start again, but he can't do it, he sticks to his institutions and crochets. He thinks that governments, colleges, newspapers, etc, are from everlasting to everlasting. (May 12)

************

As the bay-wing sang many a thousand years ago, so sang he tonight. ..It reminded me of many a summer sunset, of many miles of grey rails, of many a rambling pasture, of the farmhouse far in the fields...and of the cows coming home from pasture. (Same)

************

If you would have the song of the sparrow inspire you a thousand years hence, let your life be in harmony with its strain today. (Same)

************

I ordinarily plod along a sort of whitewashed prison entry, subject to some indifferent or even grovelling mood. I do not distinctly realize my destiny. I have turned down my light to the nearest glimmer and am doing some task which I have set for myself. I take incredibly narrow views, live on the limits, and have no recollection of absolute truth. Mushroom institutions hedge me in. But, suddenly, in some fortunate moment, the voice of eternal wisdom reaches me, even in the strain of the sparrow, and liberates me, whets and clarifies my senses, makes me a competent witness. (Same)

************

The same speaker dwelt on the sufferings of life, but my advice was to go about one's business, suggesting that no ecstasy was ever interrupted. (May 24)

*************************************************************

"His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge."

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

"My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can't discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough." -HDT

**********

"Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest" -HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :

http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIII, No. 2

Excerpts from Thoreau's Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

November 2006

**********************************************************

"Says I to myself" should be the motto of my journal."
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

**********************************************************

Generally with all our desires and restlessness, we are no more likely to embark in any new enterprise than a tree is to walk to a more favorable locality. (May 29, 1857)

**************

The Americans are very busy and adventuresome sailors, but all in somebody's employ-as hired men. I have not heard one setting out in his own bark, if only to run down our own coast on a voyage of adventure or observation, on his own account. (May 29)

**************

[On a Bobolink]: "Methinks these are the most liquidly sweet & melodious sounds I have ever heard. The meadow is all bespattered with melody. His notes fall with the apple blossoms in the orchard...It is the foretaste of such strains as never fall on mortal ears, to hear which we should rush to our doors and contribute all that we possess or are." (June 1)

**************

The Boblink's song affected me me as if as if one were endeavoring to keep down globes of melody down with a stick, but they slipped and came up one side. (June 2)

**************

I have several friends, acquaintances, who are very good companions in the house or for an afternoon walk, but whom I cannot make up my mind to make a longer excursion with, for I discover all at once that they are too gentlemanly in manners, dress, and all their habits. I see in my mind's eye that they wear black coats, considerable starched linen, glossy hats and shores, and it is out-of-the-question... It would be too much of a circumstance to enter a strange town or house with such a companion. You cannot travel incognito; you might get into the papers. You should travel as a common man. (June 3)

**************

[On early June]: It's time now to bring our philosophy out-of-doors. Our thoughts pillow themselves unconsciously in the troughs of this soft, rippling sea of sound. Now first we begin to be peripatetics. No longer our ears come in contact with the bold echoing earth, but everywhere recline on the spring cushion of a cricket's chirp. (June 4)

**************

I am interested in each contemporary plant in my vicinity, and have attained a certain acquaintanceship with the larger ones. They are cohabitants with me of this part of the planet, and they bear familiar names. (June 5)

**************

This is June, the month of grass and leaves...Already the aspens are trembling again and a new summer is offered to me. I feel a little fluttered in my thoughts as if I might be too late. Each season is but an infintesimal point. It no sooner comes than it is gone. It has no duration. It simply gives a hue and tone to my thought...Our thoughts and sentiments answer to the revolutions of the seasons, as two cog-wheels fit into each other...A year is made up of a certain series and number of sensations which have their language in nature. Now I am ice, now I am sorrel. (June 6)

**************

The price of friendship is the total surrender of yourself; no lesser kindness, no ordinary attentions and offerings will buy it...I sometimes awake in the night and think of friendship and its possibilities, a new life and revelation to me...Friendship is the fruit which the year should bear. It lends fragrance to the flowers, and it is vain if we only get a large crop of apples without it. (July 13)

**************

VOLUME X OF THOREAU'S JOURNAL COMMENCES
August 1857-June 1858

**************

How meanly and miserably we live for the most part! We escape fate continually by the skin of our teeth, as the saying is. We are practically desperate. Just as every man, in respect to material wealth, aims to become independent and wealthy, so in respect to our spirits and imagination, we should have the same spare capital and superfluous vigor, have some margin and leeway in which to move. What kind of gift is life, unless we have spirits to enjoy it, and taste its true flavor? If, in respect to spirits, we are forever cramped and in debt...Poverty is the rule...Have the gods sent us into this life to do chores, hold horses and the like, and not given us any spending money? (August 10)

**************
i heard some ladies the other day laughing about some one of their help who had helped herself to a real hoop from off a hogshead [barrel] for her gown. I laughed too, but which part do you think I laughed at? Isn't a hogshead as good a word as crinoline? (Same)

**************

[The beginning of his theory of seed dispersal?]: "I saw a red squirrel run along the bank under the hemlocks with a nut in his mouth. He stopped near the foot of the hemlock, and harshly pawing a hole with his forefeet, dropped the nut, covered it up...Thus then is the way forests are planted." (Sept 24)

**************

The red maple has fairly begun to blush in some places by the river...I am thrilled at the sight of it. (Sept 25)

**************

These are warm serene bight autumn afternoons. I see far off the various colored gowns of the cranberry pickers against the green of the meadow. The river stands a little way over the grass again, and summer is over. (Sept 26)

**********************************************************

"His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge."

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

"My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can't discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough." -HDT

**********

"Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest" -HDT

 

******************************************************************
******************************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIII, No. 3

Excerpts from Thoreau's Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

December 2006

*******************************************************

"Says I to myself" should be the motto of my journal."
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts." -HDT

*******************************************************

How out of all proportion to the value of an idea, when you come to one in Hindu literature, for instance is the historical fact about it the when, where, etc, it was actually expressed and what it might signify to to a sect of worshippers! Anything that is called the history of India or of the world is impertinent beside any real poetry or inspired thought which is dateless. (September 27, 1857)

************

Some small maples in low ground have fairly begun to burn for a week. It varies from scarlet to crimson. It looks like training-day in the meadows and swamps. They have run up their colors. (Same)

************

[On the red maple]: "It rejoices in its existence. It's reflections are unalloyed. It is the day of thanksgiving with it. At last, its labors for the year being consummated and every leaf ripened to its full, it flashed out conspicuous to the eye of the most casual observer, with all the virtue and beauty of a maple...In its hue is no regret or pining. It's leaves have been asking their parent from time to time in a whisper: 'When shall we redden.' It has faithfully husbanded its sap and builded without babbling nearer and nearer to heaven...Its autumnal tint shows how it spent its summer; it is the hue of its virtue." (Same)

************

If some are prosecuted for abusing children, other deserve to be prosecuted for maltreating the face of nature committed to their care. (Sept. 28)

************

[Said in reference to phosphorescent wood in found in Maine]: "Consider what actual phenomenon await us. To say nothing of life, which may be rare and difficult to detect, and death, which is startling enough, we cannot begin to conceive of anything so surprising and thrilling but that something more surprising may be actually presented to us. (Sept. 30)

************

This changing of the leaves their brighter tints must have to do with cold...(Oct 2)

************

To sit under an old clock that has been ticking 150 years there is something mortal, not to say immortal about it. (Oct. 3)

************

I hear the alarum of a small red squirrel. I see him running by fits and starts along a chestnut bough toward me. His head looks disproportionately large...like a bulldog's, perhaps because his chops are full of nuts. He chirrups and vibrates his tail, holds himself in, and scratches along a foot as if it were a mile. He finds noise and activity for both of us. It is evident that all this ado does not proceed from fear. There is at the bottom, no doubt, an excess of inquisitiveness and caution, but a greater part is make-believe and a love of the marvellous. He can hardly keep it up, till i am gone, however, but takes out his nut and tastes it in the midst of his agitation. "See there, see there," says he, "Who's that, O dear what shall I do?"...He gets down the trunk at last..., head downward, within a rod of you, and chirrups and chatters louder than ever. Tries to work himself into a fright. The hind part of his body is urging the forward part along, snapping the tail over it, like a whiplash, but the forepart, for the most part, clings fast to the bark with desperate energy. (Oct. 5)

************

After describing the fall ripening of the flora: " I am riper for thought, too." (Same)

************

Think what a change, unperceived by many, has within a month, come over the landscape. Then the general, universal hue was green. Now see those brilliant scarlet and glowing yellow trees in the lowlands a mile off...or see that crowd in the swamp half a mile through, all vying with one another, a blaze of glory. See those crimson patches faraway on the hillsides, like dense flocks of crimson sheep...We are not prepared to believe the earth is now so parti-colored....A great painter is at work. (Oct. 6)

************

Looking up the Trout Stream, it seems a wild place for a man to live as we have seen. What a difference between a residence there and within five minutes of the depot. What different men the two lives must turn out! (Same)
************

One wonders that the tithing-men or fathers of the town are not out to see what the trees mean by their high colors and exuberance of spirits, fearing that some mischief is brewing. I do not see what the Puritans did at that season when the maples blazed out in scarlet. They certainly could not have worshipped in groves then. Perhaps that is why they built meeting houses and surrounded them with horse-sheds for.... (Oct. 7)

************

Look into the hollow all aglow, where the trees are clothed in their vestures of most dazzling tints. Does it not suggest a thousand gypsies beneath, rows of booths, and that a man's spirit should rise as high that the routine of his life be interrupted by an analogous festivity and rejoicing? (Same)

************

When I turn round halfway up Fair Haven Hill, by the orchard wall, and look northwest, I am surprised for the thousandth time at the beauty of the landscape, and I sit down and behold it at my leisure. (Same)

************

On autumn: "Such is the dwelling place of man; but to go to a caucus in the village tonight or to a church tomorrow, and see if there is anything said to suggest that the inhabitants of those houses know what kind of world we live in." (Same)

*******************************************************

"His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge."

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

"My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can't discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough." -HDT

 

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 4

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

January 2007

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

I do not know how to entertain one who can’t take long walks...I give up my forenoons to them and get along pretty well...but they are heavy as dumplings by mid-afternoon. If they can’t walk, why can’t they take a harvest nap and let me go in the afternoon? But come 2 o’clock, they alarm me by an evident disposition to sit. In the midst of the most glorious Indian Summer afternoon, there they sit, breaking your chairs, and wearing our the house with their backs to the light, taking no note of the lapse of time. (October 7, 1857)

**************

As I sat on the high bank at the east end of Walden this afternoon at 5 o’ clock, I saw by a peculiar intention of dividing of the eye, a very striking subaqueous rainbow-like phenomenon. A passer-by might, perhaps would, have noticed that the bright-tinted shrubs about the high shore on the sunny side were reflected from the water, but unless on the alert for such effects, he would have failed to perceive the full beauty of this phenomenon. Unless you look for reflections, you commonly will not find them. Those beautiful shrubs which were from three to a dozen feet in height, were all reflected dimly so far as the details of leaves, etc, were concerned but brightly as to color, and, of course in the order in which they stood–scarlet, yellow, green, etc. – there being a slight ripple on the surface, these reflections were not true to their height, though true to their breadth, but were extended downward with mathematical perpendicularity three of four times too far, forming sharp pyramids of the different colors gradually reduced to mere dusky points. The effects of the prolongation of the reflection was a very pleasing softening and blending of the colors...It was just as if you were to brush firmly aside with your hand or brush a fresh line of paint of various colors...There was accordingly, a sort of belt, as wide as the whole height of a hill, extending downward along the north or sunny side of the pond, composed of exceeding short or narrow inverted pyramids of the most brilliant colors intermixed...
(Same)

**************

Walden, too, like an Indian maiden, wears this broad rainbow-like belt round her waist in October...The color seems to be reflected and re-reflected fro ripple to ripple, losing brightness by the softest possible gradation, and tapering toward the beholder, since he occupies a mere point-of-view. This is one of the prettiest effects of autumnal change. (Same)

**************

[On the town’s elms changing in color]: “Under those light-rustling yellow piles just ready to fall on the heads of the walker, how can any crudity of greenness of thought or act prevail. The street is a great harvest home...Think of the great yellow canopies or parasols held over our heads.” (Oct. 9)

**************

It has come to this,–that the lover of art is one and the lover of nature another, though true art is but the expression of our love of nature. It is monstrous when one cares but little about trees, but much about Corinthian columns, and yet this is exceedingly common. (Same)

**************

[On a distant elm tree]: “It is the vignette to an unseen idyllic poem.” (Oct. 12)

**************

This what those scamps did in California. The trees were so grand and venerable that they could not let them grow a hair breadth bigger, or live a moment longer to reproach themselves. They were so big that that they resolved they should never be bigger. They were so venerable that they cut them right down. It was not for the sake of the wood; it was only because they were very grand and venerable. (Same).

**************

The Great Fields from this hill are pale-brown, often hoary–there is not yellow enough for russet–pastures with very red or purple patches of black berry vine. You can only appreciate the effect of these by a strong and peculiar intention of the eye. We ordinarily do not see what is before us, but what our prejudices presume to be there. (Oct. 13)

**************

Another, the tenth of these memorable days...It is indeed a Golden Autumn. These ten days are enough to make the reputation of any climate. A tradition of these days might be handed down to posterity. They deserve a notice in history, in the history of Concord...Was there ever such an autumn? (Oct. 14)

**************

[Regarding the widespread economic failure and panic]: “I have no compassion, nor sympathy with, this miserable state of things. Banks, built of granite, after some Grecian or Roman style, with their porticoes and their safes of iron, are not so permanent and cannot give me so good security for capital invested in them, as the heads of withered hardhack in the meadows. I do not suspect the solvency of these. I know who is their president and cashier.” (Same)

**************

I take all these walks to every point on the compass, and it is always harvest-time for me. I am always gathering my crop from the woods and fields and waters, and no man is in my way or interferes with me. My crop is not their crop...I am a reaper I am not a gleaner. I go reaping, cutting as broad a swatch as I can, and bundling and stacking up and carrying it off from field to field, and no man knows nor cares. My crop is not sorghum nor Davis seedlings. There are crops other than these, whose seed is not distributed by the Patent Office. (Same)

**************

....[T]he reflection is never a true copy or repetition of its substance, but a new composition, and this may be the source of its novelty and attractiveness, and of this nature too may be the charm of the echo. I doubt if you can ever get Nature to repeat itself exactly. (Same)

**************

On pine needles: “How beautifully they die, making cheerfully their annual contribution to the soil! They fall to rise again...” (Oct. 16)

**************

[On seeing and hearing a military band]: “It is remarkable that our institutions can stand before music, it is so revolutionary.” (Oct. 17)

**************

On meeting an old barefoot man on the road, his shoes full of apples]: “This old man’s cheeriness was worth a thousand of the church’s sacraments...It was better than a prayerful mood. It proves me of old age as tolerable, as happy as infancy....Old age is manlier; it has learned to live, makes fewer apologies, like infancy.” (Oct. 20)

*************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :

http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 5

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

February 2007

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

What a perfect chest the chestnut is packed in!...With such wonderful care Nature has secluded and defended these nuts, as if they were her most precious fruits, while diamonds are left to take care of themselves. (October 22, 1857)

**********

[He sees two birds flying together against a storm, and asks...]: “Where is my mate beating against the storm with me.” (Oct. 26)

**********

These sparrows, too, are thoughts I have. They come and go; they flit by quickly on their migrations uttering only a faint “chip.” I know not whether or why exactly. One will not rest on upon its twig for me to scrutinize it. The whole copse will be alive with my rambling thoughts, bewildering me by their very multitude, but they will all be gone directly without leaving me a feather. My loftiest thought is somewhat like an eagle that suddenly comes into a field of view, suggesting great things and thrilling the beholder, as if it were bound hitherward with a message for me; but it comes no nearer, but circles and soars away, growing dimmer, disappointing me, till it is lost behind a cliff or cloud. (Same)

**********

[While sailing in a storm on the river]: “The reign of water now begins and how it gambols and revels! Waves are its leaves, foam its blossoms. How they run and leap in great droves deriving new excitement from each other! Schools of porpoises and blackfish are only more animated waves and have acquired the gait and game of the sea itself. (Oct 27)

**********

At the eleventh hour, late in the year, we have visions of the life we might have lived...The maples were Potter’s, far downstream, but I dreamed I walked like a liberated spirit in their maze. (Oct. 28)

**********

What majesty there is in this small bird’s flight! The hawks are large-souled! (Same)

**********

Every wilde apple excites our expectation thus! It is a prince in disguise perhaps. (Same)

**********

Suppose I see a single green apple brought to perfection on some thorny shrub, far in a wild pasture where no cow has plucked it. It is an agreeable surprise. What chemistry has been at work there? It affects me somewhat like a work of art. (Same)

**********

I see some shrubs which cattle have browsed for 20 years, keeping them down and compelling them to spread until at last they are so broad they become their own fence, and some interior shoot darts upward and bears its fruit! What a lesson to man! So are human beings referred to the highest standard, the celestial fruit which they suggest and aspire to bear, browsed on by fate, and only the most persistent and strongest genius prevails, defends itself, and sends a tender scion upward at last, and drops its perfect fruit on an ungrateful earth...That fruit seems all the sweeter and more palatable even for the very difficulties it has contended with. (Oct 29)

**********

There are some things of which I cannot at once tell whether I have dreamed them or they are real...This is especially the case in the early morning hours, when there is a gradual transition from dreams to waking thoughts, from illusions to actualities, as from darkness or perchance moon and starlight to sunlight. Dreams are real, as is the light of the stars and moon, and there is said to be a dreamy light. Such early morning thoughts I speak of occupy debatable ground between dreams and waking thoughts. They are sort of a permanent dream in my mind. At least until we have for some time changed our position from prostrate to erect...we cannot tell what we have dreamed from what we have actually experienced...This morning, for instance, for the twentieth time at least, I thought of that mountain in the eastern part of our town (where no high hill actually is) which once or twice I had ascended, and often allowed my thoughts alone to climb.
(Oct. 29)

**********

We see mankind generally either (from ignorance or avarice) toiling too hard and becoming mere machines in order to acquire wealth, or perhaps inheriting it, or getting it by other accident, having recourse for relaxation after excessive toil or as a mere relief to their idle evil, or artificial amusements, rarely elevating and often debasing...Everyone who deserves to be regarded as higher than the brute may be supposed to have an earnest purpose, to accomplish which is the object of his existence, and this is at once his work and supremest pleasure, –and for diversion and relaxation...there is offered the never-failing amusement of getting a living. (Same)

**********

...I know of no such amusement–as wholesome and in very sense profitable,–for instance, as to spend an hour or two a day picking some berries or other fruits which will be food for the winter or collecting driftwood from the river for fuel, or cultivating a few beans and potatoes which I want. Theaters and opera which intoxicate for a season, are as nothing compared to these pursuits. And so it is with all the true arts of life. Farming and building and manufacturing and sailing and the greatest and wholsomest amusements ever invented...Such is the path by which we climb to the heights of our being, and compare the poetry which such simple pursuits have inspired with the unreadable volumes which have been written about art. (Same)

*************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :

http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 6

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

March 2007

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

In the Lee Farm swamp...I see two kinds of ferns still green and much in fruit...In the summer you might not have noticed them. Now they are conspicuous among the withered leaves...What means this persistent vitality, invulnerable to frost and wet? Why were they spared when the brakes and osmundas were stricken down? They say as if to keep up the spirits of the cold-blooded frogs which have not yet gone into the mud; that the summer may die with decent and graceful moderation...Even in them I feel an argument for immortality . Death is so far from being universal. The same destroyer does not destroy all....To my eyes they are tall and noble as palm trees....How dear they must be to the chickadee and rabbit! ...What virtue is theirs that enables them to resist the frost? (October 31, 1857)

*************

If you are afflicted with the melancholy this season, go to the swamp and see the brave spears of skunk cabbage buds already advanced to a new year. Their gravestones are not bespoken yet. Who shall be sexton to them? Is it the winter of their discontent? Do they seem to have lain down to die, despairing of skunk cabbagedom? “Up and at ‘em,” “Give it to ‘em,” “Excelsior,” “Put it through”–these are their mottoes. Mortal human creatures must take a little respite in this fall of the year, their spirits do flag a little. There is a little questioning of destiny and thinking to go where the “weary shall be at rest.” But not so with the skunk cabbage....I say it is good for me to be here, slumping in the mud, a trap covered with wilted leaves. See those green cabbage buds lifting the dry leaves in that watery and muddy place. There is no can’t nor cant to them. They see over the brow of winter’s hill. They see another summer ahead. (Same)

*************

A higher thought, though only dimply hinted at, thrills us with more than a lower expressed. (Nov. 1)

*************

How contagious are boys’ games! A short time ago they were spinning tops, as I saw and heard them all the country over. Now every boy has a curved stick, a hawkie (?) in his hand. Whether in yards or distant lanes I meet them. (Nov. 2)

*************

Returning, I see the red oak on R.W. E’s shore reflected in the bright sky waters. In the reflection, the tree is black against the clear whitish sky, though as I see it against the opposite woods it is warm greenish yellow. But the river sees sit against the bright sky and hence the reflection is like ink...The water tell me how it looks to it seen from below. I think most men, as farmers, hunters, fishers, etc, walk along a river’s bank, or paddle along its stream, without seeing the reflections. Their minds are not abstracted from the surface, from surfaces generally. It is only a reflecting mind that sees reflections. I am aware that often I am occupied with shallow and commonplace thoughts, looking for something superficial, when I did not see the most glorious reflections, though exactly in the line of my vision...I was even startled by the sight of that reflected red oak as if it were a black water spirit. When we are enough abstracted, the opaque earth itself reflects images to us; i.e., we are imaginative, see visions, etc. Such a reflection, this inky leafy tree against a white sky, can only be seen in this season. (Same)

*************

To see a remote landscape between two near rocks, I want no other gilding to my picture frame. (Nov. 3)

*************

I see in the path some rank thimble-berry shoots with that particular hoary boom very thickly...What is this bloom and what purpose does it serve?...It is the evidence of a ripe and completed work, on which the unexhausted artist has breathed out of his superfluous genius, his works look through it as a veil...It is the subsidence of superfluous ripeness. Like a fruit preserved in its own sugar. It is the handle by which the imagination grasps it. (Nov. 4)

*************

Now that the sun is setting, the mountains are dark blue from top to bottom...But those grand and glorious mountains how impossible to remember daily that they are there, and to live accordingly! They are meant to be a perpetual reminder to us, pointing out the way. (Same)

*************

I think that the man of science makes this mistake, and the mass of mankind along with him: that you should give your chief attention to the phenomenon which excites you as something independent on you, and not as it is related to you. The important fact is its effect on me. He thinks that I have no business to see anything else but what just what he defines the rainbow to be... but I care not whether my vision of truth is a waking thought or dream remembered, whether it is seen in the light or in the dark. It is the subject of the vision, the truth alone, that concerns me. The philosopher for whom rainbows, etc., can be explained away never saw them. (Nov. 5)

*************

I think that this craving a better material than we deserve, and wasting what we get, is the secret of bankruptcy. And what is it after all, but lumber? I do not wish to see any more poor men in rich houses. I would rather see one rich man is a poor house...For a man to pride himself on this kind of wealth, as if it enriched him, is as ridiculous as if one struggling in the ocean with a bag of gold on his back should gasp out, “I am worth a hundred thousand dollars!” I see his ineffectual struggles just as plainly, and what it is that sinks him. (Same)

*************

Minott is a very pleasing figure nature. He improves every scenery... (Nov. 6)

*************

Minott adorns whatever part of nature he touches; whichever way he walks transfigures the earth for me. If a common man speaks of Walden, I see only a shallow, dull-colored body of water, without reflections or peculiar color, but if Minott speaks of it, I see the green water and reflected hills at once, for he has been there. I hear the rustle of the leaves from woods which he goes through. (Nov. 7)

*************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at
bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :
http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 7

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

April 2007

***********************************************************

Correction below:

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

The sonorous, quavering sound of the geese are the voice of this cloudy air–a sound that comes from directly between us and the sky, an aerial sound, and yet so distinct, heavy and sonorous, a clanking chain drawn through heavy air. I saw through my window some children looking up and pointing their tiny bows into the heavens, and I knew at once the geese were in the air. It is always an exciting event. The children, instinctively aware of its importance, rushed into the house to tell their parents. These travelers are revealed to you by the upward-turned gaze of men...So they migrate not hedge to hedge, but from latitude to latitude, from state to state, steering boldly out into the ocean of the air. (November 8, 1857)

**************

I have no doubt that a good farmer who, of course, loves his work, takes exactly the same kind of pleasure in draining a swamp, seeing the water flow out into his newly cut ditch, that a child does in its mud dikes and water wheels. Both alike like to play with the natural forces. (Same)

**************

[In response to the swamp papyrus which has green buds in fall]: ”I see it not without emotion. I too have spring thoughts even in November.” (Same)

**************

I do not know exactly what that sweet word is which the chickadee says when it hops near to me now in those ravines. (Same)

**************

I step over some slip nooses some woodling has just set. How long since men set snares for partridges and rabbits?...Ah, my friends, I know you are better than you think, and love you better too. The day after never we will have an explanation. (Same)

**************

See the run rise or set if possible each day. Let that be your pill. (Nov. 13)

**************

Flannery is the hardest-working man I know. Before sunrise and long after sunset he is taxing his unweariable muscles. The result is a singular cheerfulness. He is always in good spirits. He often overflows with joy when you perceive no occasion for it! If only the gate sticks, some of it bubbles up and overflows in his passing comment in that accident. How much mere industry proves! There is a sparkle often in his passing remark, and his voice is really like that of a bird. (Nov. 18)

**************

In one light these are old and worn-out fields that I ramble over, and men have gone to law about them long before I was born, but I trust that I ramble over them in a new fashion and redeem them. (Same)

**************

There are many ways of feelings one’s pulse. In a healthy state, the constant experience is a pleasurable sensation or sentiment. For instance in such a state, I find myself in perfect connection with nature...Prevailing sights and sounds make the impression of beauty and music on me. But in sickness all is deranged. I had yesterday a kink in my back and a general cold, and as usual it amounted to a cessation of life. I lost for a time my rapport with nature. Sympathy with nature is an evidence of perfect health. You cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.
(Same)

**************

Many a man who should rather describe his dinner, imposes on us with a history of the Grand Khan. (Same)

**************

In books, that which is most generally interesting is what comes home to the most cherished private experiences of the greatest number. It is not the book of him who had traveled the farthest over the surface of the globe, but of him who has lived the deepest and been most at home. If an equal emotion is excited by a familiar homely phenomenon as by the Pyramids, there is no advantage in seeing the Pyramids. It is on the whole better, as it is simpler, to use the common language. We required that that the reporter be very permanently planted before the facts he observes, no mere passer by...The poet has made the best roots in his native soil of any man, and is hardest to transplant. The man who is often thinking that it is better to be somewhere else than where he is excommunicates himself...Here I have been these forty years learning the language of these fields that I may better express myself. If I should travel to the prairies, I should much less understand them. (Nov. 20)

**************

In spite of Malthus and the rest, there will be plenty of room in this world, if every man minds his own business. I have not heard of any planet running against another yet. (Same)

**************

[He hears a locomotive whistle far off–not sounding like the usual high pitch]: “Was it because distant sounds are commonly on a low key?” (Nov. 21)

**************

[He sees a ‘high blueberry’ bush]: “Think of its wreathes and canopies of cool blue fruit in August, thick as the stars in the Milky Way!” Nov. 23

**************

Some poets have said that writing poetry was for youths only, but not so. In that fervid and excitable season, we only get the impulse which is to carry us onward in our future career. Ideals are then exhibited to us distinctly which all our lives after we may aim at but not attain...We are shown fair scenes in order that we may be tempted to inhabit them, and not simply tell what we have seen. (Nov. 24)

**************

This is November of the hardest kind...This month taxes a walker’s resources more than any. For my part, I should sooner think of going into quarters in November than in winter. If you do feel the fire in this season out of doors, you may depend on it, it is your own....November Eatheart-is that the name of it?...You can hardly screw up your courage to take a walk when all is thus tightly locked or frozen up and so little to be seen in field or wood...But then I am unexpectedly compensated, and the thinnest yellow light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of... (Same)

**************

Standing before Stacy’s large glass windows this morning, I saw that they were gloriously ground by the frost. I never saw such beautiful feather and fur-like frosting. His windows are filled with fancy articles and toys for Christmas and New-Years presents, but this delicate and graceful outside frosting surpassed them all infinitely. (Nov. 27)

 

*************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :

http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm

***********************************************************

CORRECTION:

Many thanks to the sharp-eyed reader who caught my typo in the passage below (I typed ”flow” instead of “floor”) in the last edition. Also, I had unwisely edited out a beautiful line from the preceding paragraph. Here again is Thoreau’s memorable description of snowflakes, which I reproduced so poorly the first time around:

"A divinity must have stirred with them before the crystals did shoot and set. Wheels of the snow chariot. The same laws that shape the earth-star shapes the snow star. As surely as the petals of flowers are fixed, each of these countless snow stars come whirling to earth, pronouncing thus, with emphasis, the no. 6.

“There they lie, like the wreck of chariot-wheels after a battle in the skies…these glorious spangles, the sweepings of heaven's floor. And they all sing, melting as they sing of the mysteries of the number six, -six, six, six.”

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 8

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

May 2007

***********************************************************

Thoreau died on May 6, 1862. Louisa May Alcott wrote the following
in his memory:

"Spring came to us in guise forlorn;
The bluebird chants a requiem;
The willow-blossom waits for him;-
The Genius of the wood is gone."

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

Roads were once described as leading to a meetinghouse, but not so often nowadays.
(December 2, 1857)

**************

In sickness and barrenness, it is encouraging to believe that our life is damned and is coming to a head...All at once, unaccountably, as as we are walking in the woods or sitting in our chambers after a worthless fortnight, we cease to feel mean and barren. (Dec. 13)

**************

The commonest and cheapest of sounds as the barking of a dog, produce the same effect on fresh and healthy ears as the rarest music does. It depends on your appetite for sound. Just as a crust is a sweeter to a healthy appetite than a confectionery to a pampered or diseased one...

**************

I have lain awake at night many a time to think of the barking of a dog, which I have heard long before, bathing my being again in those waves of sound, as a frequenter of the opera might lie awake remembering the music he had heard. (Same)

**************

One while [sic] we do not wonder that so many commit suicide, life is so barren and worthless; we only live on by an effort of the will. Suddenly our condition is ameliorated and even the barking of a dog is a pleasure to us. So closely is our happiness bound up with with our physical condition, one reacts with other. (Same)

**************

Do not despair of life. You have no doubt force enough to overcome obstacles. Think of the fox prowling through the wood and field in a winter night for something to satisfy his hunger. Notwithstanding cold hounds and traps his race survives. I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.

**************

I am disappointed by most essays and lectures. I find that I had expected the authors would have some life, some private experience to report, which would make it comparatively unimportant in what style they expressed themselves, but commonly they have only talent to exhibit. (Same)

**************

What interesting contrasts our climate afford. In July, you rush panting into [a] pond, to cool yourself in the torpid water, when the stones on the bank are so heated, you cannot hold one tightly in your hand, and horses are melting on the road. Now you walk on the same pond frozen amid the snow with numbed fingers and feet and see the water-target bleached and still in the ice. (Same)

**************

I have lately been surveying the Walden Woods so extensively and minutely that I now see it mapped in my mind’s eye–as indeed on paper–as so many woodlots...I fear this particular dry knowledge may effect my imagination and fancy, that it will not be easy to see so much wildness and native vigor as formerly. No thicket will seem so unexplored now that I know that a stake and stones many be found in it. (January 1, 1858)

**************

The slosh on Walden has so much water in it, it now has frozen perfectly smooth and looks like semi-transparent marble. Being however opaque, it reminds one the more of some vast hall or corridor’s floor. Yet probably not a human foot has trodden it yet. (Same)

**************

[He notices that the sun make a plant appear red]: “It is long that a human friend has met me with such a glow.” (Same)

**************

I was feeling cheap, nevertheless, reduced to make the most of dry dogwood berries. Very little evidence of God or man did I see just then, and life not as rich and inviting and enterprise as it should be, when my attention was caught by a snowflake on my coat sleeve. It was one of those perfect crystalline star-shaped ones, six rayed like flat wheel with six spokes, only the spokes were perfect little pine trees in shape, arranged around a central spangle. This little object, with many of it fellows resting unmelted on my coast, so perfect and beautiful, reminded me that nature had not lost her pristine vigor yet and why should man lose heart?...These little wheels came down like the wrecks of chariots from a battle waged in the sky...I was rained and snowed on with gems....What a world we live in! Where are the jewellers’ shops? There is nothing handsomer than a drew drop or a snowflake. I would say that the maker of the world exhausts his skill with each snowflake and dewdrop that he sends down....they are the product of enthusiasm, the children of an ecstasy finished with the artist’s utmost skill. (Jan. 6)

**************

[After a snowstorm]: “These are true mornings of creation, original and poetic days, not mere repeating of the past. There is no lingering of yesterdays fogs, only such a mist as might have adorned the first morning.” (Jan. 7)

**************

There has been but little use for gloves this winter, though I have been surveying for the past three months. The sun, the cock crowing, the bare ground, etc, etc, remind me of March. (Same)

**************

Who can doubt that men are by a certain fate, what they are, contending with unseen and unimagined difficulties, or encouraged and aided by equally auspicious circumstances? (Same)

**************

To insure health, a man’s relation to nature must come very near to a personal one. (Same)

**************

I do not think much of that chemistry that can extract corn and potatoes out of barren [soil], but rather of that chemistry that can extract thoughts and sentiments out of the life of a man on any soil. It is vain to write on the seasons unless you have the seasons in you. (Same)

**************

[On seeing “abundant” waterbugs flitting around]: “ This is something new to me. What must they think of that winter? It is like a child waked up and set to playing at midnight (Jan. 24)

How many waterbugs make a quorum? (Same)

**************

Ah, if I only had no more sins to answer for than a waterbug!

**************

Between winter and summer, there is, to my mind, an immeasurable interval. (Same)

**************

You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of an bread or cake. You must be able to extract nutriment out of a sand heap. You must have so good an appetite as this, else you will live in vain. (Same)

*************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT
***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to :
http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm
or to the Thoreau Institute's web site:
http://www.walden.org/education/index_Schechter_Journal_Drippings.htm

***********************************************************
***********************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS Vol. VIIl, No. 9

Excerpts from Thoreau’s Journal.
The Adventure Continues!

June 2007

***********************************************************

Dedicated to Rich Berger, longtime colleague and faithful reader
of these e-missives. I am going to miss you, Rich!
Hope to see you at Walden more.

***********************************************************

“Says I to myself” should be the motto of my journal.”
-Journal, November 11, 1851

"Nothing was ever so unfamiliar and startling to me
as my own thoughts."
-HDT

***********************************************************

This is a lichen day. The white lichens partly encircling aspens and maples look as if a painter had touched their trunks with his brush as he passed. (January 26, 1858)

**************

Nature loves gradation. Trees do not spring directly from the earth. Mosses creep up over the insteps of the trees and endeavor to reclaim them. Hence the propriety of lacing over the instep. (Same)

**************

How protean! is life! One may eat and drink and sleep and digest and do the ordinary duties of a man, and have no excuse for sending to a doctor, and yet he may have reason to doubt if he as truly alive or his life as valuable and divine as that of an oyster. He may be the best citizen in a town and yet it shall occur to him to prick himself with a pin to see he if he is alive. It is wonderful how quiet, harmless, and ineffective a living creature may be. No more energy may it have than a fungus that lifts the bark of a decaying tree. (Same)

**************

I raised last summer a squash that weighed 123 1/2 pounds. If it had fallen on me, it would have made a deep and lasting impression as most men do. I would just as lief know what it thinks about God, as what most men think, or are said to think. In such a squash you have already got the bulk of a man. My man, perchance when have I put such a question to him, opens his eyes for a moment, essays in vain to think, like a dusty firelock out of order, then calls for a plate of that same squash to eat and goes to sleep, as it is called--and that is no great distance to go, surely. (Same)

**************

Some men have a particular taste for bad words, mouthing and licking them into lumpish shapes like the bear and its cubs. (January 27)

**************

[On a day of mild weather in January]: “A rain which is as serene as fair weather suggesting fairer weather than was ever seen. You could hug the clods that defile you. You feel the fertilizing influence of the rain in your mind. The part of you that is wettest is fullest of life, like the lichens. You discover evidences of immortality not known to divines. You cease to die. You detect some buds and sprouts of life. (Same)

**************

You cannot go home yet; you stay and sit in the rain. You glide along the distant wood-side, full of joy and expectation, seeing nothing but beauty, hearing nothing but music...not indebted to any academy or college for this expansion, but chiefly to the April rain which descendeth on all alike; not encouraged by men in your walks, not by the divines or the professors, and to the lawgiver an outlaw; not encouraged (even) when you are reminded of the government at Washington. (Same)

**************

Times passes so quickly and unaccountably as when I am engaged in composition, i.e., in writing down my thoughts. Clocks seem to have been put forward. (Same)

**************

Minott has a sharp ear for the note of any migrating bird. Though confined to his dooryard by the rheumatism, he commonly hears them sooner than the wildest rambler. Maybe he listens all day for them, or they come and sing over his house,–report themselves to him and receive their season ticket. (Jan. 28)

**************

[Tells story of a Concord slave named Casey who ran away before the Revolution and ‘hid himself up to his neck in the river, just across from the Great Meadows.’]: “He may have been twenty when stolen from Africa; left a wife and one child there. Used to say he went home to Africa in the night and came back again in the morning...” (Feb. 18)

**************

We hear the names of the worthies of Concord–Squire Cuming and the rest–but the poor slave Casey seems to have led a more adventuresome life than any of them. Squire Cuming probably never had to run for his life on the plains of Concord. (Feb. 20)

**************

There is no need of a law to check the license of the press. It is law enough, and more than enough, to itself. Virtually, the community have come together and agreed what things shall be uttered, have agreed on a platform, and to excommunicate him who departs from it, and not one in a thousand dares utter anything else. (March 2)

**************

[On going to hear a ‘Chippeway’ Indian]: “Thought Indians might be Jews because of a similarity of customs.” (March 5)

**************

We read the English poets, we study botany and zoology and geology, lean and dry as they are, and it is rare we get a new suggestion. It is ebb tide with the scientific reports, Professor–in the chair. We would fain know something more about the animals, stones and trees around us. (Same)

**************

[G]enerally speaking how much more conversant was the Indian with any wild animal or plant than we are; and in his language is implied all that intimacy...How many words in his language about a moose, or birch bark and the like! The Indian stood nearer to wild nature than than we. (Same)

**************

It was a new light when my guide gave me Indian names for things for which I only had scientific ones before. In proportion as I understood the language, I saw them from a new point of view. (Same)

**************

[On Indian words]: ”[They] reveal to me a life within a life, or rather a life without a life, as it were threatening the woods between our towns still, and yet we can never tread in its trail. The Indians’ earthly life was as far off from us as heaven is. (Same)

**************

[Sees a stream from melted snow forming a swirl of bubbles, which cause other bubbles to rotate the other way]: “The laws, perchance by which the world was made, and according to which the system’s revolve, are seen in full operation in a rill of melted snow.” (March 16)

**************

[Describes the sound of the first flicker]: “But how that sound people’s and enriches all the woods and fields. They are no longer the same woods and fields that they were. This note really quickens what was dead...It is as when a family, your neighbors, return to an empty house after a long absence, and you hear the cheerful hum of voices and laughter of children, and see the smoke from the kitchen fire. The doors are thrown open, and children go screaming through the hall. So the flicker dashes through the aisles of the grove, throws up a window here and cackles out of it, and then there, airing out the house....It is as good as a house warming to all nature. (March 17)

*************************************************************

JOURNAL DRIPPINGS will return in the fall for its 9th year. Now spring has arrived, and it's time to go outside and take a look around! Enjoy!

************************************************************

“His journals should not be permitted to be read by any, as I think they
were not meant to be read. I alone might read them intelligently. To most
others they would only give false impressions. I have never been able to
understand what he meant by his life. Why did he care so much about being
a writer? Why did he pay so much attention to his own thoughts? Why
was he so dissatisfied with everyone else, etc?
Why was he so much interested in the river
and the woods and the sky, etc?

Something peculiar, I judge.”

- Ellery Channing, friend of Thoreau's

“My journal should be the record of my love. I would write in it only of
the things I love, my affection for any aspect of the world, what I love
to think of...I feel ripe for something...yet can’t discover what that
thing is. I feel fertile merely. It is seed time with me. I have lain
fallow long enough.” -HDT

**********

“Of all the strange and accountable things, this journalizing is the
strangest” –HDT

***********************************************************

If you would like a complete copy of "Journal Drippings" to date,
just email me at bill_schechter@lsrhs.net
or go to : http://schechsplace.tripod.com/ht.htm
or the Thoreau Institute's web site



All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter