February 19, 1841

P1265934 - Version 2.jpeg

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is the unexplored grandeur of the storm which keeps up the spirits of the traveller. When I contemplate a hard and bare life in the woods, I find my last consolation in its untrivialness— Shipwreck is less distressing because the breakers do not trifle with us. We are resigned as long as we recognise the sober and solemn mystery of nature. The dripping mariner finds consolation and sympathy in the infinite sublimity of the storm— It is a moral force as well as he. With courage he can lay down his life on the strand, for it never turned a deaf ear to him—nor has he ever exhausted its sympathy.

In the love of narrow souls I make many short voyages, but in vain—I find no sea room—but in great souls I sail before the wind without a watch, and never reach the shore.