In the High Peaks

Friday, October 16, 2015

Snow Tonight?? Thoreau and Autumn

We have had a prolonged autumn, an extraordinarily long period of beautiful weather, spectacular hiking days, and gorgeous views that go on without end, and a long drawn-out unfolding of what is ordinarily the all-too brief pizazz of brilliant foliage.

We will have lived here 10 years as of December 13, and have never seen an autumn as lovely as this one. No wonder I feel guilty I haven't progressed with my business and work goals.

As I read Henry David Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, and reflect on his devotion and affiliation with nature, I think he would understand my behavior perfectly. I'm enjoying his reflections and his and his brother's encounters with the wild on their boat trip in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 1838 or so, but I had no idea that the book was nearly 400 pages. I thought it was one of his shorter volumes. How mistaken can one be?

I must admit that I have adjusted to the length, though I find what I call his "stream of consciousness" about religion, Classical literature, mythology, and philosophy taxes my taste at times, but I realize that this was one of his first works, if not his first; Thoreau was very young when he wrote this, and naturally wanted to connect all his intellectual interests to his experiences and thoughts about nature and the wild as he and his brother rowed forward on this adventure. Still, I treasure his observations about wildlife and plants and the towns and villages they pass through, and their local history to be the most enjoyable parts of this book. Yes, absolutely worth reading.

Snow is in the forecast tonight--not much, but a sharp wake-up call. I've been washing hats and gloves and warm coats today. Brrrr...

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