Not only must men talk, but for the most part must talk about talk, - even about books, or dead and buried talk. Sometimes my friend expects a few periods from me. Is he exorbitant? He thinks it is my turn now. Sometimes my companion thinks he has said a good thing, but I don’t see the difference. He looks just as he did before. Well, it is no loss. I suppose he has plenty more.
Tuesday. Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried.
I have not succeeded if I have an antagonist who fails. It must be humanity’s success.
I cannot think nor utter my thought unless I have infinite room. The cope of heaven is not too high, the sea is not too deep, for him who would unfold a great thought. It must feed me and warm and clothe me. It must be an entertainment to which my whole nature is invited. I must know that the gods are to be my fellow-guests.
We cannot well do without our sins; they are the highway of our virtue.
How simple is the natural connection of events. We complain greatly of the want of flow and sequence in books, but if the journalist only move himself from Boston to New York and speak as before, there is link enough. And so there would be, if he were as careless of connection and order when he stayed at home, and let the incessant progress which his life makes be the apology for abruptness. Do I not travel as far away from my old resorts, though I stay here at home, as though I were on board the steamboat? Is not my life riveted together? Has not it sequence? Do not my breathings follow each other naturally?
Saturday. When I walk in the fields of Concord and meditate on the destiny of this prosperous slip of the Saxon family, the unexhausted energies of this new country, I forget that this which is now Concord was once Musketaquid, and that the American race has had its destiny also. Everywhere in the fields, in the corn and grain land, the earth is strewn with the relics of a race which has vanished as completely as if trodden in with the earth. I find it good to remember the eternity behind me as well as the eternity before. Wherever I go, I tread in the tracks of the Indian. I pick up the bolt which he has but just dropped at my feet. And if I consider destiny I am on his trail. I scatter his hearthstones with my feet, and pick out of the embers of his fire the simple but enduring implements of the wigwam and the chase. In planting my corn in the same furrow which yielded its increase to his support so long, I displace some memorial of him.
I have been walking this afternoon over a pleasant field planted with winter rye, near the house, where this strange people once had their dwelling-place. Another species of mortal men, but little less wild to me than the musquash they hunted. Strange spirits, dæmons, whose eyes could never meet mine; with another nature and another fate than mine. The crows flew over the edge of the woods, and, wheeling over my head, seemed to rebuke, as dark-winged spirits more akin to the Indian than I. Perhaps only the present disguise of the Indian. If the new has a meaning, so has the old.
Thursday. I have been making pencils all day, and then at evening walked to see an old schoolmate who is going to help make the Welland Canal navigable for ships round Niagara. He cannot see any such motives and modes of living as I; professes not to look beyond the securing of certain “creature comforts.” And so we go silently different ways, with all serenity, I in the still moonlight through the village this fair evening to write these thoughts in my journal, and he, forsooth, to mature his schemes to ends as good, maybe, but different. So are we two made, while the same stars shine quietly over us. If I or he be wrong, Nature yet consents placidly. She bites her lip and smiles to see how her children will agree. So does the Welland Canal get built, and other conveniences, while I live. Well and good, I must confess. Fast sailing ships are hence not detained.
What means this changing sky, that now I freeze and contract and go within myself to warm me, and now I say it is a south wind, and go all soft and warm along the way? I sometimes wonder if I do not breathe the south wind.
Consider what a difference there is between living and dying. To die is not to begin to die, and continue; it is not a state of continuance, but of transientness; but to live is a condition of continuance, and does not mean to be born merely. There is no continuance of death. It is a transient phenomenon. Nature presents nothing in a state of death.
I have thought, when walking in the woods through a certain retired dell, bordered with shrub oaks and pines, far from the village and affording a glimpse only through an opening of the mountains in the horizon, how my life might pass there, simple and true and natural, and how many things would be impossible to be done there. How many books I might not read!
Pond. - Nature is constantly original - and inventing new patterns, like a mechanic in his shop. When the overhanging pine drops into the water, by the action of the sun and the wind rubbing it on the shore - its boughs are worn white and smooth - and assume fantastic forms, as if turned by a lathe.
All things indeed are subjected to a rotary motion - either gradual and partial or rapid and complete - From the planet and system to the symplest shell fish and pebbles on the beach. As if all beauty resulted from an object turning on its own axis - or others turning about it. It establishes a new centre in the universe. As all curves have reference to their centres or foci - so all beauty of character has reference to the soul - and is a graceful gesture of recognition a waving of the body toward it.