the stamp of thoreau
the stamp of thoreau
Archive ID
11.5"h x 22.5"w
Transcribed Text
I did not read books the first summer; I hoed beans. Nay, I often did better than this. There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hands. I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the house until by the sun falling in at my west window or the noise of some traveller's wagon on the distant highway. I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hand would have been. They were not time subtracted from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance.
As I drew a still fresher soil about the rows and my home, I disturbed the ashes of unchronicled nations who in primeval years lived under these heavens, and their small implements of war and hunting were brought to the light of this modern day. They lay mingled with other natural stones, some of which bore the marks of having been burned by Indian fire, and some by the sun, and also bits of pottery and glass brought hither by the recent cultivations of the soil. When my hoe tinkled against the stones, that music echoed to the woods and the sky was an accompaniment to my labor which yielded an instant and immeasurable crop. It was no longer beans that I hoed, nor that I hoed beans and I remembered with as much pity as pride if I remembered at all my acquaintances who had gone to the city to attend the oratorios.