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The Walker's Anthology

The Walker's Anthology

Excerpt:
Sample 1: Setting Out


Contents | Introduction | Sample 1: Setting Out | Sample 2: Through Countryside | Sample 3: Walking at Night | Sample 4: On Hills and Mountains


 

Walking and its pleasures and ideas, 1850

H. D. THOREAU

I can easily walk ten, fifteen, twenty, any number of miles, commencing at my own door, without going by any house, without crossing a road except where the fox and the mink do: first along by the river, and then the brook, and then the meadow and the woodside. There are square miles in my vicinity which have no inhabitant. From many a hill I can see civilisation and the abodes of man afar. The farmers and their works are scarcely more obvious than woodchucks and their burrows. Man and his affairs, church and state and school, trade and commerce, and manufacture and agriculture, even politics, the most alarming of them all – I am pleased to see how little space they occupy in the landscape. Politics is but a narrow field, and that still narrower highway yonder leads to it. I sometimes direct the traveller thither. If you would go to the political world, follow the great road, follow the market-man, keep his dust in your eyes, and it will lead you straight to it; for it, too, has its place merely, and does not occupy all space. I pass from it as from a bean field in the forest, and it is forgotten. In one half hour I can walk off to some portion of the earth’s surface where a man does not stand from one year’s end to another, and there, consequently, politics are not, for they are but as the cigar-smoke of a man.
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I think I cannot preserve my health and spirits unless I spend four hours at least, and it is commonly more than that, every day in the open air; sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements. You may safely say, a penny for your thoughts, or a thousand pounds ….
The Selected Essays of Henry David Thoreau

 

The Walker's Anthology

Excerpts:

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