Saturday, April 09, 2005

Thoreau's Journal: 9-Apr-1856

Sorry, but I just had to yank a hank of Hank.

I made it an annual ritual for a decade, from the time I was 13, to read Henry David Thoreau. (What happened to my copy of the journal???) I had a special old oak in Willow Glen Park with a hidden branch I would climb into, a crook I could fold a sarape into, and birds, birds, birds. Mostly it was deep shade but at 4pm in the spring a bath of light would nest there, turning true gold, then salmon and blue. Every spring weekend, reading into summer break. Catching these lines just now, now I know why I love Thoreau in April.

"From that quarter his shrill blast sounded, but he is silent, and a kingdom will not buy it again."

Thoreau's Journal: 9-Apr-1856

I go off a little to the right of the railroad, and sit on the edge of that sand-crater near the spring by the railroad. Sitting there on the warm bank, above the broad, shallow, crystalline pool, on the sand, amid russet banks of curled early sedge-grass, showing a little green at base, and dry leaves, I hear one hyla peep faintly several times. This is, then, a degree of warmth sufficient for the hyla. He is the first of his race to awaken to the new year and pierce the solitudes with his voice. He shall wear the medal for this year. You hear him, but you will never find him. He is somewhere down amid the withered sedge and alder bushes there by the water’s edge, but where? From that quarter his shrill blast sounded, but he is silent, and a kingdom will not buy it again.

The communications from the gods to us are still deep and sweet, indeed, but scanty and transient,—enough only to keep alive the memory of the past. I remarked how many old people died off on the approach of the present spring. It is said that when the sap begins to flow in the trees our diseases become more violent. It is now advancing towards summer apace, and we seem to be reserved to taste its sweetness, but to perform what great deeds? Do we detect the reason why we also did not die on the approach of spring?

posted by Greg at 1:19 AM 0 observation(s)
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