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Chapter 17. Spring 
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Post Chapter 17. Spring
Summary

refreezing of Walden after the ice cutting

thinning of the ice

pond and day as correlative of the year

booming of the pond

first signs

breaking up of ice

forms in the railroad bank

red squirrels & sparrows

geese

living in the present

goodness

a hawk at play

overcoming death

renewal

http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendenta ... ter17.html
Walden Study Text



Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:39 am
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Quote:
You find thus in the very sands an anticipation of the vegetable leaf. No wonder that the earth expresses itself outwardly in leaves, it so labors with the idea inwardly. The atoms have already learned this law, and are pregnant by it.

Quote:
17.9 Thus it seemed that this one hillside illustrated the principle of all the operations of Nature. The Maker of this earth but patented a leaf.

He presents to us almost a Theory of Everything from this one observed phenomenon. Someone may know which branch of science or physics picks up the thread offered here.
Quote:
The earth is not a mere fragment of dead history, stratum upon stratum like the leaves of a book, to be studied by geologists and antiquaries chiefly, but living poetry like the leaves of a tree, which precede flowers and fruit -- not a fossil earth, but a living earth; compared with whose great central life all animal and vegetable life is merely parasitic.

In later years, Thoreau became more and more the scientist/naturalist. I think, though that he preferred still to be known as a transcendentalist. The world needed to be understood through a combination of accurate observation and imagination. We now would say that his speculations have no place in science. I wonder what he would think about this.
Quote:
17.24 Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. We need the tonic of wildness -- to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

This is the prophetic voice that many hear when they think of Thoreau. He must have been the earliest to express such a thought. In the public mind, wilderness was probably still something to be subdued and converted to something that people could use. Well, it is something people can use, he tells us, in fact it is essential to our full existence. A voice crying in the wilderness, alas.
DWill



Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:39 pm
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