3/06/2009

but own it not...


bright garden, originally uploaded by pilgrimgirl.

I was reading a bit of Thoreau this morning (for a research proposal that I'm drafting) and came across this passage...

We have complicated our lives by seeking so much more than is needed: "From the cave we advanced to roofs of palm leaves, of bark and bough, of linen woven and stretched, of grass and straw, of boards and shingles, of stones and tiles. At last, we do not know what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think...We no longer camp as if for a night, but have settled down on earth and forgotten heaven."
The design of our "shelter" has become superfluously complex and so expensive that it bankrupts our very existence: "the cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it." To Thoreau's way of thinking, how much better it is not to own a house--only to be enslaved to its care and upkeep--but to feel "at home everywhere" and anywhere! "Rise free from care before the dawn and seek adventures. Let the noon find thee by other lakes, and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. . . .Enjoy the land, but own it not."

2 comments:

G said...

and how. very very timely. thank you.

susanhaywardphotography said...

Ok, Jana. here's a question for you. I read in a book somewhere that Thoreau didn't do his own laundry while living on the Pond. His mother and sister came and picked up his dirty clothes, washed them, and returned them to his little shack. They also brought food. Is this true? When I read this, it made me lose all respect for Henry's little experiment and numerous sermons on living simply. Wouldn't it be easier for everyone to simplify if we didn't have to do our own laundry? This little tidbit made me so mad that I sold my copy of Walden Pond. What do you think?