Monday, April 18, 2016

Earth Day Week: Some Thoughts From Henry David Thoreau on This Day in History (April 18th)


Image courtesy of Art Gallery ErgsArt by ErgSap's Folickr page - vallotton_portrait_henry_david_thoreau_1896: Art Gallery ErgsArt:
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Walden Pond
Image courtesy of Jeremy T. Hetzel's Flickr page - Walden Pond:
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Qreat Thoreau Quote
Image courtesy of Ryan Lowery's Flickr page - Qreat Thoreau Quote:
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"The world is but a canvass to our imagination."

~ Henry David Thoreau

April 18, 1841  Sunday. We need pine for no office for the sake of a certain culture, for all valuable experience lies in the way of a man’s duty. My necessities of late have compelled me to study Nature as she is related to the farmer, - as she simply satisfies a want of the body. Some interests have got a footing on the earth which I have not made sufficient allowance for. That which built these barns and cleared the land thus had some valor.  We take little steps, and venture small stakes, as if our actions were very fatal and irretrievable. There is no swing to our deeds. But our life is only a retired valley where we rest on our packs awhile. Between us and our end there is room for any delay. It is not a short and easy southern way, but we must go over snowcapped mountains to reach the sun.

April 18, 1852  Day before yesterday I brought home some twigs of that earliest large oval-catkined willow just over Hubbard’s Bridge on the right hand, a male tree. The anthers just beginning to show themselves; not quite so forward as those above the Deacon Hosmer house, which I have thought to be the same. They looked much the worse for the rain. Catkins about one inch long, not being much expanded yet, opening a little below the apex, two stamens to a scale. There are smaller female bushes further on, on the left, catkins about the same size, with greenish ovaries stalked and rather small and slightly reddish stigmas, four-divided. I thought this the other sex of the same tree. There is also the very gray hardwood-like willow at the bars just beyond Hubbard’s Brook, with long, cylindrical, caterpillar-like catkins, which do not yet show their yellow. And, thirdly, opposite the first-named, i. e. the other side the way, a smaller-catkined willow not yet showing its yellow. Fourthly, near the Conantum Swamp, sterile catkins in blossom on a bush willow an inch and a quarter long, more forward than any, but the stamens one to a bract or scale and bifid or trifid or quatrifid toward the top!! Fifthly, what I should think the Salix humilis, i. e. S. Muhlenbergiana, shows its small catkins now, but not yet blossoms.


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