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Nature's Panorama

Nature's Panorama: Thoreau on the Seasons

Edited by Ronald A. Bosco
Foreword by Robert D. Richardson
Engravings by Barry Moser
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 152
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  • Book Info
    Nature's Panorama
    Book Description:

    "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book," wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Today that book continues to provoke, inspire, and change lives all over the world, and each rereading is fresh and challenging. Yet as Thoreau's countless admirers know, there is more to the man than Walden. An engineer, poet, teacher, naturalist, lecturer, and political activist, he truly had multiple lives to lead, and each one speaks forcefully to us today. Sponsored by the Thoreau Society, the brief, handsomely presented books in this series offer the thoughts of a great writer on a variety of topics, some that we readily associate with him, some that may be surprising. Each volume includes selections from his familiar published works as well as from less well known lectures, letters, and journal entries. The books include original engravings by renowned illustrator and book artist Barry Moser.

    eISBN: 978-1-61376-072-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)

    “Works and days were offered us,” said Thoreau’s friend Emerson, “and we took works.” It was the wrong choice. He goes on to say “he only is rich who owns the day.” This sounds easy, but is not, because the days, as he explains, “are of the least pretension and the greatest capacity of anything that exists.” To say, as Emerson does, that the days are divine means that every day contains within it all the capacities of the universe, that every day is the day of creation and every day is the day of creation and every day is...

  4. INTRODUCTION Thoreau’s Romance of the Seasons
    (pp. xiii-xxix)

    Identifying a parallel between those autumnal signs always evident to a New Englander that the year is coming to an end and his sense of the frailty of human life, on the evening of 1 November 1858 Henry David Thoreau opened his journal and engaged in an extended meditation on the relation between the seasons and himself. His meditation was well timed, for the first of November inaugurated what Thoreau had more than once characterized as “November Eat-heart,” a season that, with its increasingly dark days and lifeless prospect, chilled the poetic impulse and almost “oblige[d] a man to eat...

    (pp. 1-25)

    I spend a considerable portion of my time observing the habits of the wild animals, my brute neighbors. By their various movements and migrations they fetch the year about to me. Very significant are the flight of geese and the migration of suckers. . . . But when I consider that the nobler animals have been exterminated here,—the cougar, panther, lynx, wolverine, wolf, bear, moose, deer, the beaver, the turkey, etc., etc.,—I cannot but feel as if I lived in a tamed, and, as it were, emasculated country. Would not the motions of those larger and wilder animals...

    (pp. 27-53)

    Nature has looked uncommonly bare & dry to me for a day or two. With our senses applied to the surrounding world we are reading our own physical & corresponding moral revolutions. Nature was so shallow all at once I did not know what had attracted me all my life. I was therefore encouraged when going through a field this evening, I was unexpectedly struck with the beauty of an apple tree—The perception of beauty is a moral test.

    21 June 1852,Journal5:120

    As I come over the hill, I hear the wood thrush singing his evening lay....

    (pp. 55-81)

    Celtis berries begin to yellow. As I look off from the hilltop, I wonder if there are any finer days in the year than these. The air is so fine and more bracing, and the landscape has acquired some fresh verdure withal. The frosts come to ripen the year, the days, like fruits,—persimmons.

    What if we were to walk by sunlight with equal abstraction and aloofness, yet with equally impartial observation and criticism. As if it shone not for you, nor you for it, but you had come forth into it for the nonce to admire it. By moonlight...

    (pp. 83-112)

    I want to go soon and live away by the pond where I shall hear only the wind whispering among the reeds— It will be success if I shall have left myself behind But my friends ask what I will do when I get there? Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?

    24 December 1841,Journal1:347

    We must go out and really ourselves to Nature every day. We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day. I am sensible that I am imbibing health when I open...

    (pp. 113-114)

    It is a genial and reassuring day; the mere warmth of the west wind amounts almost to balminess. The softness of the air mollifies our own dry and congealed substance. I sit down by a wall to see if I can muse again. We become, as it were, pliant and ductile again to strange but memorable influences; we are led a little way by our genius. We are affected like the earth, and yield to the elemental tenderness; winter breaks up within us; the frost is coming out of me, and I am heaved like the road; accumulated masses of...

    (pp. 115-115)
    (pp. 116-118)
    (pp. 119-120)
    Wesley T. Mott
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 121-122)