A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
I am too easily contented with a slight and almost animal happiness. My happiness is a good deal like that of the woodchucks.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 2 May 1848
I love Nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him. None of his institutions control or pervade her. There a different kind of right prevails. In her midst I can be glad with an entire gladness. if this world were all man, I could not stretch myself, I should lose all hope. He is constraint, she is freedom to me. He makes me wish for another world. She makes me content with this.—Journal, 3 January 1853
I rise into a diviner atmosphere, in which simply to exist and breathe is a triumph, and my thoughts inevitably tend toward the grand and infinite, as aeronauts report that there is ever an upper current hereabouts which sets toward the ocean. If they rise high enough they go out to sea, and behold the vessels seemingly in mid-air like themselves. It is as if I were serenaded, and the highest and truest compliments were paid me. The universe gives me three cheers. — Journal, 13 July 1857—Journal, 13 July 1857
O how I laugh when I think of my vague, indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it—for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 6 December 1856
On foot, however, we continued up along the bank, feeling our way with a stick through the showery and foggy day, and climbing over the slippery logs in our path with as much pleasure and buoyancy as in brightest sunshine; scenting the fragrance of the pines and the wet clay under our feet, and cheered by the tones of invisible waterfalls; with visions of toadstools, and wandering frogs, and festoons of moss hanging from the spruce trees, and thrushes flitting silent under the leaves . . . — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Surely joy is the condition of life.—"Natural History of Massachusetts"