The Thought for the Day – Henry David Thoreau

We only need travel enough to give our intellect an airing. – Henry David Thoreau, diary entry, 11/20/1857

Thoreau, one of the few of our species who only needs one name, might well be, along with Gore Vidal, the most frequent contributor to this feature. Thoreau kept a diary for 24 years, from 10/22/1937 until the day he died. A naturalist and a philosopher, Thoreau also earned a living in his family’s pencil factory and his book Walden remains a classic of American letters. Thoreau, incidentally, is fully qualified to offer this quote: he traveled infrequently, spending most of his time in his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts.

We had a practical application of this quote this week, going to Denver to visit the wife, who has been gone most of the last two months for work. We went to a museum and saw the Dead Sea Scrolls and ate in a strip mall Chinese joint and generally had a nice, relaxing day.

We were ready for a break from writing. Our last entry before we headed out was Wednesday’s Daily Dose entry which, as usual, ended with the On This Date feature. Longtime readers know we enjoy chronicling the events that have made up our human experience and usually we write On This Date with a high level of enthusiasm. Not Wednesday. Every word was a chore and friends, when you’re a writer and putting one word after another is anything less than a pleasure it is time for a break.

But you can’t stay away from home forever. We weren’t even gone a full day (we left very early Thursday and came home Friday) and our intellect had been sufficiently aired: we couldn’t wait to get back at it so Sparrow could share his day with you and I could inspire you to new heights.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Gaylon began stockpiling quotes in 1988.

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