Out of the Past

Thoreau

February 18







         


Tuesday. Ground nearly bare of snow. Pleasant day with a strong south wind. Skated, though the ice was soft in spots. Saw the skunk-cabbage in flower. Gathered nuts and apples on the bare ground, still sound and preserving their colors, red and green, many of them.

Yesterday the river was over the road by Hubbard's Bridge.

Surveyed White Pond yesterday, February 17th.

There is little or nothing to be remembered written on the subject of getting an honest living. Neither the New Testament nor Poor Richard speaks to our condition. I cannot think of a single page which entertains, much less answers, the questions which I put to myself on this subject. How to make the getting our living poetic! for if it is not poetic, it is not life but death that we get.

Is it that men are too disgusted with their experience to speak of it? or that commonly they do not question the common modes? The most practically important of all questions, it seems to me, is how shall I get my living, and yet I find little or nothing said to the purpose in any book.




Those who are living on the interest of money inherited, or dishonestly, i. e. by false methods, acquired, are of course incompetent to answer it.

I consider that society with all its arts, has done nothing for us in this respect. One would think, from looking at literature, that this question had never disturbed a solitary individual's musings.

Cold and hunger seem more friendly to my nature than those methods which men have adopted and advise to ward them off. If it were not that I desire to do something here - accomplish some work - I should certainly prefer to suffer and die rather than be at the pains to get a living by the modes men propose.


1851

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