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sentiment, going on to say that in the morning, and only in the morning, “some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night” which gives us, at least temporarily, “a higher life than we fell asleep from[3].  Reading this passage, I immediately thought of those camp mornings full of energy and promise; my grandfather, who ran the camp before my father, used to say that you could tell which kids had jumped in on a given morning by a certain ineffable “spring in their step and gleam in their eye.”

I include this personal anecdote because I think it helps illustrate Thoreau’s point that nature in some ways allows us to live fuller, more satisfactory lives than we can back in civilization.  Even the most basic modern shower system involves some quite advanced technologies: running water, synthetic materials, and hot water, to name just a few.  It has thousands of years of human innovation behind it, and it doesn’t come close to matching the cleansing or invigorating power of a natural body of water, which has been sitting there for us all along, requiring little effort on our part and reminding us every morning of the reassuring fact that it exists.



[1] Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” in Walden and Other Writings, (New York: Bantam, 1982), 170.

[2] Thoreau, 171.

[3] Thoreau, 171.

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