Tuesday, June 5, 2012

sucking the marrow out of life again

For all the nit picky flaws that people find with Thoreau's Walden experiment, there is still something that I love about what he was trying to do. He tried to give up some of life's conveniences so that he might better see the changing world around him, might try to appreciate nature; isolating himself for some parts of the human experience, and aiming for simpler means.

When I lived at the Farm parts of the below quote were in my title box on this blog, because, like Thoreau I made the active choice to leave my conventional lifestyle and move to a very alternative place, to live in community, giving up some of the "necessities" of mainstream culture, i.e. cell reception, internet at home, privacy (in some senses). What I did gain, was the ability to see the world around me in a totally different light, to really experience life differently, becoming a stouter, heartier person in the process. And that is really what Walden is about, not just about the experiences, but about also about the transformation.

Anyway, I thought of Walden tonight and I am thinking about the Farm and vacation, and desperately praying that tomorrow (my last day of work pre-vacation) flies fast!

"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 practise 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."
--Henry David Thoreau

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