Sunday, May 30, 2021

to witness our own limits transgressed


We need the tonic of wildness, 
to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, 
and hear the booming of the snipe; 
to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, 
and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.  

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, 
we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, 
that land and sea be infinitely wild, 
unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable,
we can never have enough of nature.  

We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, 
vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, 
the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, 
the thunder cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. 
We need to witness our own limits transgressed, 
and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.

~ Henry David Thoreau
from Walden, 'Spring,' 1854
photos by Eliot Porter from:
Wilderness Is the Preservation of the World