June 30 1840: Journal Entry, Henry David Thoreau

I sailed from Fair Haven last evening as gently and steadily as the sail through the atmosphere. The wind blowing blithely from the southwest fields, stepped into the folds of our sails like a horse, pulling with a strong and steady impulse. The sail bends gently to the breeze as swells some generous impulse of the heart, and anon flutters and flaps with a kind of human suspense. I could watch the motions of a sail forever, they are so rich and full of meaning. I watch the play of its pulse as if it were my own blood beating there. The varying temperature of different atmospheres is graduated on its scale. It is a free buoyant creature, the bauble of the heavens and the earth. A gay pastime the air plays with it. If it swells and tugs, it is because the sun lays his windy finger on it. The breeze it plays with has been out doors so long, so thin is it, and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least serviceable. So am I blown by God’s breath, so flutter and flap, and fill gently out with the breeze.

In this fresh evening, each blade and leaf looks as if it had been dipped in an icy liquid greenness. Let eyes that ache come here and look, the sight will be a sovereign eye water, or else wait and bathe them in the dark.

We go forth into the fields, and there the wind blows freshly onward, and still on, and we must make new efforts not to be left behind. What does the dogged wind intend, that like a wilful cur it will not let me to turn aside to rest or content? Must it always reprove and provoke me, and never welcome me as an equal?

The truth shall prevail and falsehood discover itself as long as the wind blows on the hills.

A man’s life should be a stately march to a sweet but unheard music, and when to his fellows it shall seem irregular and inharmfairhavenonious, he will only be stepping to a livelier measure or his nicer ear hurry him into a thousand symphonies and concordant variations. There will be no halt ever, but at most a marching on his post, or such a pause as is richer than any sound, when the melody runs into such depth and wildness as to be no longer heard, but implicitly consented to with the whole life and being. He will take a false step never, even in the most arduous times, for the music will not fail to swell into greater sweetness and volume, and itself rule the movement it inspired.

Value and effort are as much coincident as weight and a tendency to fall. In a very wide but true sense, effort is the deed itself, and it is only when these sensible stuffs intervene, that our attention is distracted from the deed to the accident. It is never the deed men praise, but some marble or canvas which are only a staging to the real work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.