Thoughts from Thoreau about thoughts

Every once in awhile I open this old book I have – copyright 1937 – called The Works of Thoreau.  I’ve been slowly working my way through Henry’s journals.  Throughout his intimate musings, I find a man smitten with nature, often caught up in spiritual reflection, and extremely opinionated about certain aspects of society.  And, oh how he could turn a phrase when he set his mind to it… such as this whimsical metaphor for thoreauhis fleeting thoughts:

Those sparrows, too, are thoughts I have.  The come and go; they flit by quickly on their migrations, uttering only a faint chip, I know not whither or why exactly.  One will not rest upon its twig for me to scrutinize it.  The whole copse will be alive with my rambling thoughts, bewildering me by their very multitude, but they will be all gone directly without leaving me a feather.  My loftiest thought is somewhat like an eagle that suddenly comes into the field of view, suggesting great things and thrilling the beholder, as if it were bound hitherward with a message for me; but it comes no nearer, but circles and soars away, growing dimmer, disappointing me, till it is lost behind a cliff or a cloud. (from October 26, 1857)

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