Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

July 4, 2009

OK, I'm usually the one to bring up Henry David Thoreau in almost any conversation, (you might as well be warned of my faults up-front) but what, pray tell, is his connection with Independence Day?

From Walden:

When first I took up my abode in the woods, that is, began to spend my nights as well as days there, which, by accident, was on Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, 1845 ….

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.

I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account;
for, before he has fairly learned it
I may have found out another for myself,
I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible;

but I would have each one be very careful
to find out and pursue his own way,
and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead.

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