Thoreau's journal for 1851. His walk thru what became Maynard is the entry for September 4th. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59031/59031-h/59031-h.htm
Carl Bode (ed.), Collected Poems of Henry Thoreau - enlarged edition John Hopkins University Press, (2010), ISBN 978-0801895708.
Thoreau himself was ambivalent about the work of poetry:
My Life Has Been the Poem (1841)
My life has been the poem I would have writ/But I could not both live and utter it.
Don Marquis (1878-1937) expressed the same conflict in a shorter timeframe:
I never think at all when I write. Nobody can do two things at the same time and do them both well.
Images of his land surveys (in the collection of the Concord Library) #107a is the Concord River, but it described the Sudbury River as the upstream part of the Concord River, and the Assabet as the North River. http://www.concordlibrary.org/scollect/Thoreau_surveys/Thoreau_surveys.htm
http://mainewoodsforever.org/itinerariestrail-map/ Describes three visits to
Henry Thoreau as Remembered by a Young Friend Edward Emerson, (1917)
Edward was a son of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had been a mentor to Thoreau. This collection of notes and observations >10,000 words.
FROM JOURNAL ENTRY, SEPT 3, 1851:
"As for walking, the inhabitants of large English towns are confined almost exclusively to their parks and to the highways. The few footpaths in their vicinities 'are gradually vanishing,' says Wilkinson, 'under the encroachments of the proprietors.' He proposes that the people’s right to them be asserted and defended and that they be kept in a passable state at the public expense. 'This,' says he, 'would be easily done by means of asphalt laid upon a good foundation'!!! So much for walking, and the prospects of walking, in the neighborhood of English large towns.
"Think of a man—he may be a genius of some kind—being confined to a highway and a park for his world to range in! I should die from mere nervousness at the thought of such confinement. I should hesitate before I were born, if those terms could be made known to me beforehand. Fenced in forever by those green barriers of fields, where gentlemen are seated! Can they be said to be inhabitants of this globe? Will they be content to inhabit heaven thus partially?"
FROM WALKING (1862):
“The West of which I speak is but another name for the Wild; and what I have been preparing to say is, that in Wildness is the preservation of the world.”
“It is true, we are but faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, now-a-days, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours and come round again at evening to the old hearth side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again; if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man; then you are ready for a walk.”
“I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from all worldly engagements… When sometimes I am reminded that the mechanics and shop-keepers stay in their shops not only all the forenoon, but all the afternoon too, sitting with crossed legs, so many of them — as if the legs were made to sit upon, and not to stand or walk upon — I think that they deserve some credit for not having all committed suicide long ago.”
“But the walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise, as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours — as the swinging of dumb-bells or chairs; but is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day. If you would get exercise go in search of the springs of life. Think of a man’s swinging dumb-bells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far off pastures unsought by him.”
“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations, and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is; I am out of my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”
“SAUNTERING, which word is beautifully derived ‘from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,’ to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, ‘There goes a Sainte-Terrer,’ a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.”
“At present, in this vicinity, the best part of the land is not private property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative freedom. But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure-grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only, — when fences shall be multiplied, and man-traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road, and walking over the surface of God’s earth shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman’s grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities, then, before the evil days come.”
“I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold, gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow east-ward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow.”
“My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon.”
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