What is produced by a free stroke charms us, like the forms of lichens and leaves. There is a certain perfection in accidents which we never consciously attain.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers 
What is the singing of birds, or any natural sound, compared with the voice of one we love?—Journal, 30 April 1851
What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 20 May 1860
What we call wildness is a civilization other than our own.—Journal, 16 February 1859
Whatever has not come under the sway of man is wild. In this sense original and independent men are wild—not tamed and broken by society.—Journal, 3 September 1851
When I find a new and rare plant in Concord I seem to think it has but just sprung up here—that it is, and not I am, the newcomer—while it has grown here for ages before I was born.—Journal, 2 September 1856
When life looks sandy and barren, is reduced to its lowest terms, we have no appetite, and it has no flavor, then let me visit such a swamp as this, deep and impenetrable, where the earth quakes for a rod around you at every step, with its open water where the swallows skim and twitter, its meadow and cotton-grass, its dense patches of dwarf  andromeda, now brownish-green, with clumps of blueberry bushes, its spruces and its verdurous border of woods imbowering it on every side.—Journal, 17 July 1852
When the frogs dream, and the grass waves, and the buttercups toss their heads, and the heat disposes to bathe in the ponds and streams, then is summer begun.—Journal, 8 June 1850
When, as was commonly the case, I had none to commune with, I used to raise the echoes by striking with a paddle on the side of my boat, filling the surrounding woods with circling and dilating sound, stirring them up as the keeper of a menagerie of his wild beasts, until I elicited a growl from every wooded vale and hillside.—Walden
Where is the literature which gives expression to Nature? He would be a poet who could impress the winds and streams into his service, to speak for him; who nailed words to their primitive senses, as farmers drive down stakes in the spring, which the frost has heaved; who derived his words as often as he used them,—transplanted them to his page with earth adhering to their roots; whose words were so true and fresh and natural that they would appear to expand like the buds at the approach of spring, though they lay half smothered between two musty leaves in a library,—aye, to bloom and bear fruit there, after their kind, annually, for the faithful reader, in sympathy with surrounding Nature.—Cape Cod
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