Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and now allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compar it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence,–that petty fears and petty pleasures are but teh shadow of the reality. This is always exhilarating and sublime. By closing the eyes and slumbering, and consenting to be deceived by shows, men establish and confirm their daily life of routine and habit every where, which still is built on purely illusory foundations. Children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who fail to live it worthily, but who think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure….
excerpt from “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. Excerpted from the sixth edition of The Heath Anthology of American Literature, edited by Paul Lauter. Published 2009 in Boston, MA by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
FOUR DAYS TILL