in Thoreau’s Journal:
As I go down the Boston Road–I see an Irishman wheeling home from far–a large damp & rotten pine log–for fuel– He evidently sweats at it & pauses to rest many times. He found perhaps that his woodpile was gone before the winter was–& he trusts this to contend with the remaining cold. I see him unload it in his yard before me–& then rest himself. The piles of solid oak wood which I see in other yards do not interest me at all, but this looked like fuel. — It inspired me to think of it. He will now proceed to split it finely–& then I fear it requires almost as much heat to dry it, as it will give out at last.
How rarely we are encouraged by the sight of simple actions in the street– We deal with banks & other institutions where the life & humanity are concealed–what there is. I like at least to see the great beams half exposed in the ceiling or the corner–