Thoreau: Expectation of the Dawn

Sunrise, Daufuskie Island

Sunrise, Daufuskie Island

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake,
not by mechanical means,
but by an infinite expectation of the dawn,
which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.

–from Walden

Thoreau: A Delicate Flower


I saw a delicate flower had grown up two feet high
Between the horses’ feet and the wheel track,
Which Dakin’s and Maynard’s wagons had
Passed over many a time.
An inch more to the right or left had sealed its fate,
Or an inch higher. Yet it lived to flourish
As much as if it had a thousand acres
Of untrodden space around it and never
Knew the danger it incurred.
It did not borrow trouble or invite an
Evil fate by apprehending it.

          –Henry David Thoreau,
              from Journals, Sept. 1850