The Henry David Thoreau pilgrimage...
It is time to push from the shore of civilized commentary and allow the poetic pen of H.D.T. to be the gusty wind in our sails nudging us toward the ineffable, unspeakable mystery of this thing called life. Last night I was, again, filled with the rapture of his expressions and the way they give voice to what I often cannot find words to explain. All I know is that when my eyes dart across the pages of his book, Walden, I am bewitched and enchanted in ways that I need to be in order to not lose heart. I lose life in the living. I don't mean to, it just leaks out on me.
So I've chosen to devote some time to extracting and expositing the text that you will find below. It is found in the chapter titled, "Where I lived, and what I lived for". This is my feeble attempt to call to order the first meeting of the bloggers "Dead Poet Society". (a movie I just re-watched last week that wrecked shop on my beleaguered soul)
I don't even know who frequents by this blog, but I must tell you that we won't be doing much frolicking in the days ahead. I encourage you to set down your snorkel and to show up with your scuba gear. Henry has a way of taking the human heart 20,000 leagues under the sea...your ears will pop when you're down there, your head will feel like it's going to explode under the immense pressure, your ears may even bleed when you return to the surface and go about your life...but what you will see will infuse a life in the living that may be escaping you without your knowing it.
Here is the text we will be diving into...
"Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness they would have performed something. The millions are awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the day, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.'"