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The Simple Things in Life

" . . . and then I let it lie, fallow, perchance, for a man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."
~paragraph 1, chapter 2 of Thoreau's Walden

"They would begin to sing almost with as much precision as a clock, within five minutes of a particular time, referred to the setting of the sun, every evening. I had a rare opportunity to become acquainted with their habits. Sometimes I heard four or five at once in different parts of the wood, by accident one a bar behind another, and so near me that I distinguished not only the cluck after each note, but often that singular buzzing sound like a fly in a spider's web, only proportionally louder."
~paragraph 17, chapter 4 of Thoreau's Walden

Both of these passages seem to capture the essence of these first two essays/chapters. Thoreau wrote these based on his time living simply and secluded with nature. The first passage goes along with his wish to keep things simple. To him, it seems it is more important to remain laid back--let nature take its course, as it were--than to be trying to make and keep things the way he wants it. In his way of thinking, it seems that the term rich applies to this ability to let well enough alone rather than the traditional usage dealing with money.

The second passage also deals with his wish to live simply. Instead of getting bogged down by everything that needs to be done in life, he instead seems to take it easy and focus on the simple things in life that most people take for granted or just plain ignore. In this particular passage, he is noticing the music birds make and likening it to our own knowledge of music. This isn't something he can have control over, but he can listen to and appreciate it.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 28, 2009 1:41 PM.

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