Thoreau here sets a high ideal for a walk in the good sense. It is not a walk through the city. It is not a walk on the highway which connects rural farmers with the nearby town. It is a directionless walk in the woods, following not track or trail. The point here I take it is that taking a route from point to point with a plan and purpose is not what Thoreau has in mind. A walk in the good sense must be a thing in itself, whole as simply a walk that is a walk and nothing more. Any purpose or intent violates the purity of the thing itself. If we are guided by intents and purposes we will not hear the poem that is the song of creation. The society of main street will be too much with us for our ears to listen.
[Half the walk is but retracing our steps.]
It was this far reaching vision of Henry Thoreau who brought him to my literature and culture in Iran. I am Thoreau’s Iranian translator. Thoreau did not wish to retrace the path he had already covered. He just moved forward until he reached far away horizons. That is how we find him in my country. Thoreau paid very deep attention to Sa’di who is a great Persian poet. America is young. It is separated from many parts of the world by two oceans. Walking without retracing your path creates a great cosmopolitan spirit.
Being part and parcel of Nature imprisons man and reduces him to a limited and lower level of existence. In Nature, Emerson rises above nature and says, ““Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house, a world; and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you: build, therefore, your own world.”
In Walden, Thoreau carries the same spirit and says, “I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”
I think Thoreau does not mean that man should be part and parcel of Nature per se. What he means is that being part and parcel of nature is better than being a member of the civilized world.
In any case, I am curious to read this important essay to the end to see if this “Walking” is going to be merely within the boundaries of nature or it is going to take us to that little moon and sun, and that “little world” Thoreau has to himself.
Can anyone tell me the meaning of this para ?
Looking forward to help in this regard.
Are there going to be discussions on walking here? Like Walden?
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March 23, 2022 at 8:28 pm
Posted in: General Discussion
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