If it takes me as long to read Thoreau’s journal as it did for him to write it, I will never finish. I have, however, read the first four volumes. Ten remain. At the beginning of the fifth, he refers to himself as a mystic, transcendentalist, and natural philosopher, and says that in most cases he finds it best, or at least easiest, to let people think otherwise — that he is a surveyor, for instance. For many this was enough, even more than enough; just as it is enough, in my own experience, for people to think I am a writer who was once a farmer, magazine and newspaper publisher, mail-room supervisor, advertising salesman, and typesetter, among other things that either they or I have forgotten or been too polite or embarrassed to mention — when the truth is, I am a human being, and, as such, a mirror to some and a muddy pond to others, and a mystery to myself, which there is no desire or need to solve. One does not try to solve an ocean or a waterfall; why try to solve a human being? Isn’t the miracle of his fleeting appearance in this realm enough? Why bind him to a trivial, fixed set of laws? In so doing, one becomes the biased judge, jailer, and prisoner of one’s own limited thinking.
The atmosphere early this morning is one of smoke and robins. Listening through the nose, inhaling through the ears, one is as much the other. And, for an eternal instant, they, and I, are both.
June 26, 2020
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