We’ve come to the final anecdote of Walden. A year of blog posts about this book and here we are. The end of the trail. The last roundup. The final lines are to be delivered, and then it’s roll credits and cue the theme song.
So what does Henry have for us today? What is his grand summation of his magnum opus?
“The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night.” — Henry David Thoreau, “Where I lived and What I Lived For,” Walden
Many of us are not “morning people.” However, that may be because a lot of us don’t get enough sleep. We’re not as likely to rise and retire with the sun as people tended to do before electricity. Are our modern habits causing us to miss the most creative time of the day? Or is Thoreau simply assuming that everyone else’s internal clock works the way his does?
On the other hand, he goes on to say, “To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men.”
Some writers recommend having regular writing time every day. As you get in the habit, your brain begins to expect it and will tend to be more productive at that time, whatever that time is. It becomes a mental ‘morning.’
Not Walden Pond, but Holmes Creek, Nebraska, just above Conestoga Lake, early morning, July 2010.
So far, Thoreau has had plenty to say about the high value his neighbors place on things that he doesn’t think are all that important. He’s spoken repeatedly of seeking something higher, more noble. What esoteric wisdom is he seeking, anyway? Or, as a Concord resident might have asked, what’s his line of business? Continue reading →