Thursday, February 14, 2008
A Refreshing Walk
I was curious to see what other people thought of the Thoreau article this week - "Walking". I had mixed reactions to it. On the one hand, Thoreau clearly goes overboard at some points and says things that he probable doesn't actually mean. For example, on page 196 he says "A successful life knows no law," a little extreme if you ask me. But overall I really liked the article. Extreme or not, it helps to remind the reader of things he or she may forget from time to time. Nature truly can be a place to clear the mind and embrace a more uninhibited side of ourselves. He reminds us of the importance of leaving the working world behind from time to time and simply venturing into the great outdoors, however much of a struggle it may be to forget our worries. Interestingly, he even calls nature a "sacred place" on page 182, which is reminiscent of the Greek and Roman approach to wilderness. He also connects nature to freedom and purity and talks extensively about his yearning to go westward, to follow the future. Unfortunately I think this perspective can be and was used to encourage the fulfillment Manifest Destiny and inspired in some people a desire to conquer nature rather than live peacefully with it. In spite of the possibility of misinterpretation, I think the article on the whole is a worthwhile reminder that an occasional foray into nature can offer the mind repose and clarity and can rejuvenate a person's sense of 'wildness'.