Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoreau: the outward


I live so much in my habitual thoughts that I forget there is any outside to the globe, and am surprised when I behold it as now--yonder hills and river in the moonlight, the monsters. Yet it is salutary to deal with the surface of things. What are these rivers and hills, these hieroglyphics which my eyes behold? There is something invigorating in this air, which I am peculiarly sensible is a real wind, blowing from over the surface of a planet. I look out at my eyes. I come to my window, and I feel and breathe the fresh air. It is a fact equally glorious with the most inward experience. Why have we ever slandered the outward?

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
From Journal vol. 4 (1852-1853)
In Kim Stanley Robinson, Sixty Days and Counting
(New York: Bantam 2007), 286