Give me the old familiar walk, post-office and all, with this ever new self, with this infinite expectation and faith, which does not know when it is beaten. We'll go nutting once more. We'll pluck the nut of the world, and crack it in the winter evenings. Theaters and all other sightseeing are puppet-shows in comparison. I will take another walk to the Cliff, another row on the river, another skate on the meadow, be out in the first snow, and associate with the winter birds. Here I am at home. In the bare and bleached crust of the earth I recognize my friend.—Journal, 1 November 1858
Going a-berrying implies more things than eating the berries.—"Huckleberries"
He is a wise man and experienced who has taken many views; to whom stones and plants and animals and a myriad objects have each suggested something, contributed something.—Journal, 4 September 1851
How admirably the artist is made to accomplish his self-culture by devotion to his art! The wood-sawyer, through his effort to do his work well, becomes not merely a better wood-sawyer, but measurably a better man.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 19 December 1853
How is it that we are impelled to treat our old friends so ill when we obtain new ones?—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!—Journal, 19 August 1851
I am not afraid that I will exaggerate the value and significance of life, but that I shall not be up to the occasion which it is. I shall be sorry to remember that I was there, but noticed nothing remarkable—not so much as a prince in disguise; lived in the golden age as a hired man; visited Olympus even, but fell asleep after dinner, and did not hear the conversation of the gods.—Thoreau to H.G.O. Blake, 3 April 1850
I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.—"Civil Disobedience"
I catch an echo of the great strain of Friendship played somewhere, and feel compensated for months and years of commonplace.—Journal, 13 July 1857
I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. —Walden