Thoreau remembers the many different locations he surveyed before settling at Walden Pond. A second American edition from a new setting of type was published in 1889 by Houghton, Mifflin, in two volumes, the first English edition in 1886. All the Indian huckleberry hills are stripped, all the cranberry meadows are raked into the city. If the rain makes him stay indoors, it is still good for his bean crops. In addition, he saw surveying as an opportunity to pursue his real interest: observing the natural world around him. He continues his spiritual quest indoors, and dreams of a more metaphorical house, cavernous, open to the heavens, requiring no housekeeping. The value of experience is far greater than what can be read, but Thoreau recognizes that we all will experience life differently.
He's saying that you have to be yourself. To be awake is to be alive. So also, owing to bodily and mental health and strength, we may be continually cheered by a like but more normal and natural society, and come to know that we are never alone. When my floor was dirty, I rose early, and, setting all my furniture out of doors on the grass, bed and bedstead making but one budget, dashed water on the floor, and sprinkled white sand from the pond on it, and then with a broom scrubbed it clean and white; and by the time the villagers had broken their fast the morning sun had dried my house sufficiently to allow me to move in again, and my meditations were almost uninterupted. Up comes the cotton, down goes the woven cloth; up comes the silk, down goes the woollen; up come the books, but down goes the wit that writes them.
But put an extra condiment into your dish, and it will poison you. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. For my panacea, instead of one of those quack vials of a mixture dipped from Acheron and the Dead Sea, which come out of those long shallow black-schooner looking wagons which we sometimes see made to carry bottles, let me have a draught of undiluted morning air. Simplicity aids people in pursuing goals and completing tasks. This man, who was taught to pronounce Greek by a Catholic priest, reads Homer with Thoreau, who translates for him, but he has no real intellectual appreciation of it.
Through an infinity of our natures, we suppose a case, and put ourselves into it, and hence are in two cases at the same time, and it is doubly difficult to get out. His ability to read Greek, Latin, and old English taught him much about the primitive sources of words, and those early meanings which they retain to some degree. Thoreau is glad that the owls make these sounds - owls can make maniacal sounds in place of men. It was a drama of many scenes and without an end. Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of much of the contemporary Western World, with its consumerist attitudes and its distance from and destruction of nature. Such is the poverty of our nomenclature.
It reads: I thought that the sun of our love should have risen as noiselessly as the sun out of the sea, and we sailors have found ourselves steering between the tropics as if the broad day had lasted forever. Thoreau attempts to illustrate the benefits of a simplified lifestyle. It was pleasant to see my whole household effects out on the grass, making a little pile like a gypsy's pack, and my three-legged table, from which I did not remove the books and pen and ink, standing amid the pines and hickories. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. The mass of men are still and always young in this respect. Even the sailor on the Atlantic and Pacific is awakened by his voice; but its shrill sound never roused me from my slumbers. As if there were safety in stupidity alone.
Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. Thoreau meditates on the deep pleasure he feels in escaping the gossips of the town. It possesses and imparts innocence. The impression made on a wise man is that of universal innocence. Sanborn, The Life of Henry David Thoreau Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917 , 260.
I do not say that John or Jonathan will realize all this; but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. Thoreau notices that girls and boys and young women seemed happy in the woods. Here come your groceries, country; your rations, countrymen! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world. The most extensive time line of Thoreau's life is Ray Borst's The Thoreau Log: A Documentary Life of Henry David Thoreau, 1817-1862 New York: G. Thoreau refers to talk of piping water from Walden into town and to the fact that the railroad and woodcutters have affected the surrounding area. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities, which we call doing our duty. Instead, nature reaches right up to his door.
Therefore we should receive the benefit of his light and heat with a corresponding trust and magnanimity. All day the fire-steed flies over the country, stopping only that his master may rest, and I am awakened by his tramp and defiant snort at midnight, when in some remote glen in the woods he fronts the elements incased in ice and snow; and he will reach his stall only with the morning star, to start once more on his travels without rest or slumber. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well? For almost a year he worked in the family pencil factory while he looked for another teaching position. After leaving Walden, he expanded and reworked his material repeatedly until the spring of 1854, producing a total of eight versions of the book. Did Thoreau really start a major forest fire accidentally, and how old was he at that time? Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled.
I am less affected by their heroism who stood up for half an hour in the front line at Buena Vista, than by the steady and cheerful valor of the men who inhabit the snowplow for their winter quarters; who have not merely the three-o'-clock-in-the-morning courage, which Bonaparte thought was the rarest, but whose courage does not go to rest so early, who go to sleep only when the storm sleeps or the sinews of their iron steed are frozen. I personally feel a bit of good-natured prodding from Thoreau, like a friend berating you for posting on your exercise blog instead of hopping on the treadmill! This goes back to how Thoreau talks about experience in Economy and how you cannot just take the word of someone else because true experience comes from the self and your own experience. I realized what the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of works. He quotes a Psalm about the hills and mountains skipping like lambs and rams, like the train as it passes by. Harding discusses others for whom Thoreau developed great affection, including Lucy Jackson Brown and Mary Russell. The Indians did not mention eating when the Pilgrims arrived, and in two nights, they only had one meal, some fish shared with the Indian villagers.