I went to the woods...Reading Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond

In need of a brief respite from the city, Sara and I went to Walden Pond to enjoy the solitude, picnic, swim (Sara, not me!), and read a bit of Thoreau. Here are some of my favorite quotations.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Friends... they cherish one another's hopes. They are kind to one another's dreams.

If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. 

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

Simplify, simplify.

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.

I am a happy camper so I guess I’m doing something right. Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

-Henry David Thoreau

There are many famous quotations by Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden and Civil Disobedience. Do you have a favorite?

A statue of Henry David Thoreau in front of a replica of his house at Walden Pond.


  1. Simplify, simplify.--certainly a favorite. My art history professors used to drone it into our heads.

    And who knew that Thoreau coined "happy camper"?

    This morning I am particularly fond of the friends quote.

  2. My favorite here is the one about enthusiasm.I don't really want to grow old right now and if enthusiasm keeps me where I am, I want to have plenty of it.
    Mary, I love your picture of the pond and I love you too.

  3. I really like the happiness quote, though I think you need to seek happiness to a certain extent for it to come to you...

    Papy - I don't think public displays of affection are allowed on blogs ;) I'll return mom to you soon (so you can tell her in person), I promise!

  4. Joseph, "Happy camper" came as quite a surprise for me. I was skeptical at first and googled it to be sure that it really is a Thoreau quotation. Like you, I'm also feeling particularly fond of the friends quotation today.

    Stephane, Walden Pond is even better in real life than it appears in the picture. We'll have to go there together. Your comment made me think of another quotation - "absence makes the heart grow fonder". I'll be back in Paris soon!

    Sara, Thanks for clarifying the rules regarding parental public displays of affection on blogs! :-) I like the happiness quotation, too and hope that it sits lightly on your shoulder for many years to come.


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