January 7, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:


P.M. To Walden…It is bitter cold, with a cutting N.W. wind….I go through the woods toward the cliffs along the side of the Well Meadow field. There is nothing so sanitive, so poetic, as a walk in the woods and fields even now, when I meet none abroad for pleasure. Nothing so inspires me, and excites such serene and profitable thought….No amount of gold or respectability could in the least redeem it, dining with the governor or member of Congress!! But alone in the distant woods or fields, in unpretending sprout lands or pastures tracked by rabbits, even in a bleak and, to most, cheerless day like this, when a villager would be thinking of his inn, I come to myself, I once more feel myself grandly related. This cold and solitude are friends of mine….I enter some glade in the woods, perchance, where a few weeds and dry leaves alone lift themselves above the surface of the snow, and it is as if I had come to an open window. I see out and around myself. Our sky-lights are thus far away from the ordinary resorts of men. I am not satisfied with ordinary windows. I must have a true sky-light, and that is outside the village….I am aware that most of my neighbours would think it a hardship to be compelled to linger here one hour, especially this bleak day, and yet I receive this sweet and ineffable compensation for it. It is the most agreeable thing I do. I love and celebrate nature even in detail because I love the scenery of these interviews and translations.