Walden Notes

I was skeptical for the first couple of chapters, but by the middle of the book I found again the joy in reading. Although this can be said about any good book, I think it is worth saying that a book's true effectiveness is not in accurately describing, but in abstractly relating: Your own memories and experiences fill in the blanks between the inherent vagueness of language. And having many memories of rain, sun, and what is aptly described in Walden as "Nature", I found the book to be grossly engrossing, in a way that many things I consume can never be. However, I didn't want to bore everybody by picking out descriptions that only I found relevant, so I collected a couple other memorable bits that Thoreau sprinkled within his description of the pond: Thoreau's thoughts... ... on human experiences.

Undoubtedly, the very tedium and ennui which presume to have exhausted the variety and the joys of life are as old as Adam.
... on leisure
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
... on clothing
It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.
... on materialism
Indeed, the more you have of such things the poorer you are. Each load looks as if it contained the contents of a dozen shanties; and if one shanty is poor, this is a dozen times as poor.
... on wisdom
It is by a mathematical point only that we are wise, as the sailor or the fugitive slave keeps the polestar in his eye; but that is sufficient guidance for all our life.
... on philanthropy
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.
... on prophets
One would say that even the prophets and redeemers had rather consoled the fears than confirmed the hopes of man.
... on state of mind
I know of no more encouraging a fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.
... on reddit, cnn, and huffpo
And I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, - we never need read of another. One is enough.
... on rhetoric
However much we may admire the orator's occasional bursts of eloquence, the noblest written words are commonly as far behind or above the fleeting spoken language as the firmament with its stars is behind the clouds. There are the stars, and they who may read them. The astronomers forever comment on and observe them. They are not exhalations like our daily colloquies and vaporous breath.
... on the passage of time
My days were not days of the week, bearing the stamp of any heathen clock; for I lived like the Puri Indians, of whom it is said that "for yesterday, to-day, and to-morrow they have only one word, and they express the variety of meaning by pointing backward for yesterday, forward for to-morrow, and overhead for the passing day."
... on planet Earth
Men frequently say to me, "I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially." I am tempted to reply as such, - This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments?
... on small talk
Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another.
... on solitude
I had withdrawn so far within the great ocean of solitude, into which the rivers of society empty, that for the most part, so far as my needs were concerned, only the finest sediment was deposited around me.
... on the pleasure of killing weeds
Daily the beans saw me come to their rescue armed with a hoe, and thin the ranks of their enemies, filling up the trenches with weedy dead. Many a lusty crest-waving Hector, that towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades, fell before my weapon and rolled in the dust.
... on virtue
The virtues of a superior man are like the wind; the virtues of a common man are like the grass; the grass, when the wind passes over it, bends.
... on modern agriculture
It is a vulgar error to suppose that you have tasted huckleberries who never plucked them. The ambrosial and essential part of the fruit is lost with the bloom which is rubbed off in the market cart, and they become mere provender.