I am not alone if I stand by myself.—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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 cannot see the bottom of the sky, because I cannot see to the bottom of myself. It is the symbol of my own infinity.—Journal, 23 June 1840
I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit. When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 27 March 1848
I have been breaking silence these twenty three years and have hardly made a rent in it.—Journal, 9 February 1841
I look out at my eyes, I come to my window, and feel and breathe the fresh air. It is a fact equally glorious with the most inward experience.—Journal, 23 August 1852
I love and worship myself with a love which absorbs my love for the world.—Journal, 18 July 1851
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