Out of the Past

Thoreau
December 1





Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
American Writer

Horse Sled in New England, 1938
Horse Sled in New England, 1938

Snowbird
Snowbird
Boiled Chestnuts street vendor cardboard sign ca 1880s
Boiled Chestnuts street vendor cardboard sign ca 1880s
Henry David Thoreau: Author of Civil Disobedience (Spotlight on Civic Courage
Henry David Thoreau
Author of Civil Disobedience (Spotlight on Civic Courage

Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau
Expect Great Things

The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
The Journal of Henry David Thoreau: 1837-1861
Kindle Edition

"Wild Apples" and Other Natural History Essays
"Wild Apples"
and Other Natural History Essays

Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Henry Thoreau
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod



         
~ 1856

P. M. By path around Walden. With this little snow of the 29th, there is
yet pretty good sledding, for it lies solid.


I see the old pale-faced farmer out again on his sled now for the five-thousandth time - Cyrus Hubbard, a man of a certain New England probity and worth, immortal and natural, like a natural product,like the sweetness of a nut, like the toughness of hickory. He, too, is a redeemer for me. How superior actually to the faith he professes! He is not an office-seeker. What an institution, what a revelation is a man! We are wont foolishly to think that the creed which a man professes is more significant than the fact he is. It matters not how hard the conditions seemed, how mean the world, for a man is a prevalent force and a new law himself. He is a system whose law is to be observed. The old farmer condescends to countenance still this nature in and order of things. It is a great encouragement that an honest man makes this world his abode. He rides on the sled drawn by oxen, worldwise, yet comparatively so young, as if they had seen scores of winters. The farmer spoke to me, I can swear, clean, cold, moderate as the snow.





I go by Hayden's and take A. Wheeler's wood-path to railroad. Slate-colored snowbirds flit before me in the path, feeding on the seeds on the snow, the countless little brown seeds that begin to be scattered over the snow, so much the more obvious to bird and beast. A hundred kinds of indigenous grain are harvested now, broadcast upon the surface of the snow. Thus at a critical season these seeds are shaken down on to a clean white napkin, unmixed with dirt and rubbish, and off this the little pensioners pick them. Their clean table is thus spread a few inches or feet above the ground.

Will wonder become extinct in me? Shall I become insensible as a fungus?

I have seen more chestnuts in the streets of NewYork than anywhere else this year, large and plump ones, roasting in the street, roasting and popping on the steps of banks and exchanges. Was surprised to see that the citizens made as much of the nuts of the wild-wood as the squirrels . Not only the country boys, all New York goes a-nutting. Chestnuts for cabmen and newsboys, for not only are squirrels to be fed.

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