August 5, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Ah, what a poor, dry compilation is the “Annual of Scientific Discovery!” I trust that observations are made during the year which are not chronicled there, — that some mortal may have caught a glimpse of Nature in some corner of the earth during the year 1851. One sentence of perennial poetry would make me forget, would atone for, volumes of mere science. The astronomer is as blind to the significant phenomena, or the significance of phenomena, as the wood-sawyer who wears glasses to defend his eyes from sawdust. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.