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October 06, 2005

Walden ch. 13 and 18, I was wrong about the cynical bastard! Please read.

I blogged about my gut reaction, which being an avid reader who devours books like potato chips, I got so excited by his emotional outburst, that I had to comment without first reading the whole assignment.

At length the winter set in good earnest, just as I had finished plastering, and the wind began to howl around the house as if it had not had permission to do so till then. Night after night the geese came lumbering in the dark with a clangor and a whistling of wings, even after the ground was covered with snow, some to alight in Walden, and some flying low over the woods toward Fair Haven, bound for Mexico. Several times, when returning from the village at ten or eleven o'clock at night, I heard the tread of a flock of geese, or else ducks, on the dry leaves in the woods by a pond-hole behind my dwelling, where they had come up to feed, and the faint honk or quack of their leader as they hurried off. In 1845 Walden froze entirely over for the first time on the night of the 22d of December, Flint's and other shallower ponds and the river having been frozen ten days or more; in '46, the 16th; in '49, about the 31st; and in '50, about the 27th of December; in '52, the 5th of January; in '53, the 31st of December. The snow had already covered the ground since the 25th of November, and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter. I withdrew yet farther into my shell, and endeavored to keep a bright fire both within my house and within my breast. My employment out of doors now was to collect the dead wood in the forest, bringing it in my hands or on my shoulders, or sometimes trailing a dead pine tree under each arm to my shed. An old forest fence which had seen its best days was a great haul for me. I sacrificed it to Vulcan, for it was past serving the god Terminus.(12) How much more interesting an event is that man's supper who has just been forth in the snow to hunt, nay, you might say, steal, the fuel to cook it with! His bread and meat are sweet.
I love this passage because I saw geese flying in a V yesterday and this caught my eye. Notice he makes note of each date the pond has frozen because he is so relaxed and observant because for once in his life he has time to observe it. His hard laboring of woodcutting, hunting, and hauling it back for his survival makes his food taste all that much better because he's worked so hard for it. I can relate because whenever I spend a day at my boyfriend's parents' farm, his mother and I lunge the horses and cook from scratch. We walk so far between visiting the guys,(who bale hay until they're sunburned and covered in hives) and the house that we are eat our homemade meal proudly and fall asleep around 9. His parents are always happy and I think its because they work so hard doing the toughest farm chores that eating lemonade pie and playing scrabble is a good, easy day. I no longer see Hawthorne as a cynical bastard because his happiness is from the best things in life.

Posted by ErinWaite at October 6, 2005 10:51 PM

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