Some people are born with transcendent gifts. Henry David Thoreau was one such person. His writings are lucid and powerful. This selection was taken from what appears to be one of his favorite lectures and was, subsequently, published posthumously.
August Glen-James, editor
Our winged thoughts are turned to poultry. They no longer soar . . . .
We are accustomed to say in New England that few and fewer pigeons visit us every year. Our forests furnish no mast for them. So, it would seem, few and fewer thoughts visit each growing man from year to year, for the grove in our minds is laid waste,--sold to feed unnecessary fires of ambition, or sent to mill, and there is scarcely a twig left for them to perch on. They no longer build nor breed with us. In some more genial season, perchance, a faint shadow flits across the landscape of the mind, cast by the wings of some thought in its vernal or autumnal migration, but, looking up, we are unable to detect the substance of the thought itself. Our winged thoughts are turned to poultry. They no longer soar . . . .
—Henry David Thoreau: Walking (written between 1851-1860, first published in 1862)