Experience Quotations


A strain of music reminds me of a passage of the Vedas, and I associate with it the idea of infinite remoteness, as well as of beauty and serenity, for to the senses that is farthest from us which addresses the greatest depth within us. It teaches us again and again to trust the remotest and finest as the divinest instinct, and makes a dream our only real experience.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
A thrumming of piano-strings beyond the gardens and through the elms. At length the melody steals into my being. I know not when it began to occupy me. By some fortunate coincidence of thought or circumstance I am attuned to the universe, I am fitted to hear, my being moves in a sphere of melody, my fancy and imagination are excited to an inconceivable degree. This is no longer the dull earth on which I stood.—Journal, 3 August 1852
Ah dear nature—the mere remembrance, after a short forgetfulness, of the pine woods! I come to it as a hungry man to a crust of bread.—Journal, 12 December 1851
Ah, that l have known! How hard it is to remember what is most memorable! We remember how we itched, not how our hearts beat.—Journal, 11 June 1851
All we have experienced is so much gone within us and there lies. It is the company we keep.—Journal, 8 February 1841
Ancient history has an air of antiquity. It should be more modern. It is written as if the spectator should be thinking of the backside of the picture on the wall, or as if the author expected that the dead would be his readers, and wished to detail to them their own experience.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Beauty and music are not mere traits and exceptions. They are the rule and character. It is the exception that we see and hear.—Journal, 11 December 1855
Can there be any greater reproach than an idle learning? Learn to split wood, at least.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Do not tread on the heels of your experience. Be impressed without making a minute of it.—Journal, 23 July 1851
Fishermen, hunters, woodchoppers, and others, spending their lives in the fields and woods, in a peculiar sense a part of Nature themselves, are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation.—Walden
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