I read from Thoreau’s journal today again…another book that I bought years ago and had tried to read once, then set down for a half of decade.
What has changed within that half of a decade to make it seem more approachable?
I think perhaps the biggest change is that I’m no longer for looking for something very particular from the reading. I bought the book because someone recommended it, saying they read it habitually and I think I was subconsciously looking for ways to be more like that person. And when the change didn’t come automatically, I fell off the bandwagon.
And I suppose I’m still looking for something when I pick it up to read, but the something is less about self-helping myself into a different life and more about seeing what Thoreau saw and trying to understand it.
I honestly know very little about Thoreau sans what I’ve read in his journal.
Prior to picking up the journal I knew that he wrote Walden (but have I read it? no). I knew that he was a bit of a loner. And I knew that he was very into nature.
I think that sums up my total knowledge of Thoreau.
I obviously know a little more now.
I’ve read abridged versions of his journals from 1837-1850 (the leanest years of his writings due to lost journals).
And I feel like I’m beginning to saw the light on what made Thoreau such a magical writer: He sought to see mere facts and observations in relationship with the world and with himself. I think by associating ideas and observations we are able to feel more connected to life and the world around us. And anytime someone does this work and shares it, it pulls others to do the same.