EppsNet Archive: Henry David Thoreau

Within the Circuit of this Plodding Life

28 Dec 2014 /

Within the circuit of this plodding life,
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring strews them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievances.
I have remembered when the winter came,
High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
On every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun,
How in the shimmering noon of summer past
Some unrecorded beam slanted across
The upland pastures where the Johnswort grew;
Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
The bee’s long smothered hum, on the blue flag
Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
Its own memorial,—purling at its play
Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
In the staid current of the lowland stream;
Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
Beneath a thick integument of snow.
So by God’s cheap economy made rich
To go upon my winter’s task again.

— Henry David Thoreau, “Within the Circuit of this Plodding Life”

What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on? — Henry David Thoreau


3 Easy Steps to Simplify Your Life

2 Jul 2008 /
Simplify, simplify, simplify!
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Thoreau postage stamp

Thoreau’s Walden had a profound impact on my thinking. It’s hard to achieve the kind of transcendent simplicity he describes when you live with other people, as I do, but if your family is out of town for a week, as mine is, here are some things you might want to try.

Don’t Recycle

When my wife is here, we have to sort and bag bottles, cans and plastic separately. Later on that noise! Everything goes straight into the garbage! Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Don’t Wash Dishes

Drink liquids from the container and eat food straight out of whatever you cooked it in. If you have to clean an eating utensil, put it in your mouth, press your lips together, and pull it back out.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Why walk all the way to the bathroom if there’s a bottle, can or sink close at hand? A real time-saver!


Useless Junk

23 Dec 2006 /
I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily . . . and threw them out the window in disgust. — Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Walden Pond

That book made a powerful impression on me. After reading it, I decided that I, like Thoreau, would travel light along the road of life, and stop dragging so much useless junk around with me.

Unfortunately, that was almost 20 years ago and I still haven’t been able to carry it off.

Not yet, anyway.

But I still think the concept is valid . . .


Burning Down the House

25 Oct 2003 /

I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and I threw them out the window in disgust. How, then, could I have a furnished house? I would rather sit in the open air, for no dust gathers on the grass, unless where man has broken ground.

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

We’ve got a number of uncontrolled fires burning in Southern California. It’s raining ash out of a darkened sky in Orange County, where I live, although we’re nowhere near the actual fires.

Continue reading Burning Down the House