Where I Lived, and What I Lived for

Published 05 May 2017

“Where I lived, and what I lived for” is the second chapter of the book Walden written by Thoreau. It is an essay tinged with philosophical expressions wherein the author himself sets out aloof in the woods in pursuit of nature’s providence. All that he explores by realizing, “For a man rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.” becomes a fine piece of essay for us to read.

The author’s lifestyle reflects the statement ‘simplicity is the hallmark of honesty’. His splendid piece of advice, “Instead of a million, count half a dozen and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” always helps mankind to live in peace. We fail to think beyond and the confusion surrounds is alluded to in his words, “I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things.”
The author is pleased by visiting the garden more often than buying it greedily.

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This way of identifying oneself with the nature in the serene ambience is totally different from looking at life from the perspective of science. He is fortunate enough to decipher the different sounds of wind that blows past, “the morning mind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted but few are the ears that hear it.” His humbleness and love for birds is revealed through, “I found myself suddenly neighbor to the birds; not by having imprisoned one, but having caged myself near them.”

He is able to foresee the cord that connects human beings in the village and the heaven. “I could catch a glimpse of some of the peaks of the still bluer and more distant mountain ranges in the northwest, those true blue coins from heaven’s one mint, and also of some portion of the village.” But for the villagers to realize this, they have to come out to mingle with the nature. Thoreau explores the mystery behind morning hours through the understanding of the Vedas, “All intelligences awake with the morning.”

Ultimately, his visit to the woods is not to make him feel he has not lived a wonderful life but to make it meaningful and realize the chief end of man, “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” According to Thoreau, being simple and honest, being in pursuit of Godliness by identifying oneself with the nature, showing love for birds and animals, freeing from the fetters of mechanical life, awakening the spirit within by virtue of tuning all the senses in the abundance of nature are necessary to attain the sublime and eternal life.

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