The Beauty of The Outdoors
Where life begins...
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
Nature is the door to simplicity. I felt this when I was reading Economy by Thoreau. I could feel Thoreau’s perspective, and I agreed with him on how modern life can get you caught up on the unimportant things. His philosophy was that all humans need is food, shelter, clothes, and fuel. So for two years he lived in nature with only what he needed. This allowed him to appreciate the simple stuff in life and be self reliant. I’ve always wanted to try this every since I saw the actual location that Thoreau’s cabin was next to Walden pond. The idea of making my life as simple as it can be is something I’ve always admired.
When it comes down to it, what’s more important, temporary things like wealth and power, or things that last forever like being in touch with nature or the pursuit of knowledge. Henry David Thoreau put it well when he said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” I value this quote mostly because it mirrors my own beliefs, though, like everyone I wouldn’t mind a little money an fame. It’s easy to look at other in envy and ignore the beauty of everyday life. Thoreau said, “You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” This is one of the hardest things to not only take to heart, but also to complete in your own life. It’s easier to stand your ground and wonder if the grass is greener somewhere else, instead you should understand that you can’t change your circumstances, and you only get one life. I think everyone has caught themselves wishing to be someone else, but you don’t truly know the struggles of others. No life is perfect, so you should cherish your own while it lasts. It’s easy as we grow older to judge and try to understand things that we couldn’t possibly begin to. In Economy, Thoreau said,
We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
I remember when I was little, exploring the woods behind my house, woods only a half mile from where Thoreau wrote Economy. I remember feeling like the woods stretched on forever, every stick was a sword and every acorn was a treasure. Nature brings out the greatest imagination and creativity in people. As I get older I get more cynical and less imaginative, but every time I go into the woods I still feel the same wonder and amazement that I felt when I was six years-old.
Nature always brings us back, it’s where all life comes from, and where all life returns to. The last important quote I’d like to show you by Thoreau is one of the most important: “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” Henry David Thoreau isn’t looking at nature as something completely different than any other normal person. The difference is what Thoreau sees in it, and how he is able to turn it into eloquently worded, easily quotable, always intelligent masterpieces of literature. What is most interesting about Economy is not the ideas he talks about (though that is interesting) but it is how Thoreau can see the ins and outs of the world and explain it in ways must people couldn’t even fathom.
Overall, I enjoyed Economy, not because it was some classic that I knew I was “supposed” to like because it used fancy language that you haven’t seen in 150 years. No, I liked it because a I could see myself in it. I’ve heard that true art is only when anyone can look at it and immediately be able to feel the emotions and experience the feelings that were put into the art. Thoreau isn’t a poet, he’s a painter of words.