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Pleased that Nature wears well – Thoreau at his best.

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When I visit again some haunt of my youth, I am glad to find that nature
wears so well.  The landscape is indeed something real, and solid, and
sincere, and I have not put my foot through it yet.  There is a pleasant
tract on the bank of the Concord, called Conantum, which I have in my mind,
– the old deserted farmhouse, the desolate pasture with its bleak cliff, the
open wood, the river-reach, the green meadow in the midst, and the
moss-grown wild-apple orchard, – places where one may have some thoughts and
not decide anything.  It is a scene which I can not only remember, as I
might a vision, but when I will can bodily revisit, and find it even so,
unaccountable, yet unpretending in its pleasant dreariness.  When my
thoughts are sensible of change, I love to see and sit on rocks, which I
have known, and pry into their moss, and see unchangeableness so
established.  I not yet gray on rocks forever gray, I no longer green under
the evergreens.  There is something in the lapse of time by which time
recovers itself . . . .

When a shadow flits across the landscape of the soul where is the substance?
Probably if we were wise enough, we should see to what virtue we are
indebted for any happiest moment we enjoy.  No doubt we have earned it at
sometime, for the gifts of heaven are never quite gratuitous.  The constant
abrasion and decay of our lives makes the soil of our future growth.  The
wood, which we now mature, when it becomes virgin mold, determines the
character of our second growth, whether that be oaks or pines.  Every man
casts a shadow; not his body only, but his imperfectly mingled spirit.  This
is his grief.  Let him turn which way he will, it falls opposite to the sun;
short at noon, long at eve.  Did you never see it?  But, referred to the
sun, it is widest at its base, which is no greater than his own capacity.
The divine light is diffused almost entirely around us, and by means of the
refraction of light, or else by a certain self-luminousness, or, as some
will have it, transparency, if we preserve ourselves untarnished, we are
able to enlighten our shaded side.  At any rate, our darkest grief has that
bronzer color of the moon eclipsed. There is no ill which may not be
dissipated, like the dark, if you let in a stronger light upon it. Shadows,
referred to the source of light, are pyramids whose bases are never greater
than those of the substances, which cast them, but light is a spherical
congeries of pyramids, whose very apexes are the sun itself, and hence the
system shines with uninterrupted light.  But if the light we use is but a
paltry and narrow taper, most objects will cast a shadow wider than
themselves.

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