My Thoreau

It’s Henry David Thoreau’s birthday. Next year will be his 200th anniversary and he remains the inspiration for Backyard & Beyond. I’ve written about him several times here (all HDT posts: https://matthewwills.com/tag/thoreau/) but this is my most sustained homage:

Backyard and Beyond

Reading Henry David Thoreau’s Journal is one of my regular practices. The NYRB condensation of the massive work is my go-to edition: I’ve written about it previously. I find something of value on every page. And, as a whole, this blog, in case you haven’t noticed, has pretensions towards emulating Thoreau’s observations of the world, day by day, season by season.

And like Thoreau, I too am a political animal (as you may notice from my idtwitter feed), so I was struck by this journal passage from June 16, 1854:

“But what signifies the beauty of nature when men are base? We walk to lakes to see our serenity reflected in them. We are not serene, we go not to them. Who can be serene in a country where both rulers and ruled are without principle? The remembrance of the baseness of politicians spoils my walks. My…

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