Photo, North Cascades: Flickr/monoceros84
This week, I'll be sharing another passage from Thoreau's essay "Walking". This particular passage captured my imagination and reminded me of the changing seasons we're currently experiencing: as the late-summer warmth transitions into the chill of autumn - the evenings and sunsets this time of year have the same warm, golden quality that so enraptured Thoreau in this piece:
"The sun sets on some retired meadow, where no house is visible, with all the glory and splendor that it lavishes on cities, and perchance, as it has never set before... We walked in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves, so softly and serenely bright, I thought I had never bathed in such a golden flood, without a ripple or murmur to it. The west side of every wood and rising ground gleamed like the boundary of Elysium, and the sun on our backs seemed like a gentle herdsman driving us home at evening. So we saunter toward the Holy Land, til one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn."
I love the last part: how Thoreau describes the sunset light as not only illuminating the meadow and surrounding forest, but also illuminating and "awakening" the hearts and minds of those who see and experience it. There is also a suggestion that Thoreau might be speaking of "the Son" shining rather than "the sun," and the hints of heaven and spirituality that such beautiful scenes evoke. So many nature scenes and landscapes have the ability to stir emotions within us, to inspire us, to connect us to the very essentials of life, to cause us to ponder our place in all of the glorious beauty of nature... those are just some of the many things to love about nature, and all the more reason to fight for its preservation.