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Quotes of the Day: Henry David Thoreau

July 12, 2011 By: Marshall Cutchin

It’s the birthday of Henry David Thoreau, whose 19th-century meditations on living the simple life altered American culture forever.  Amongst his many quotable sentences is this: “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”  And perhaps just as relevant to the fly-fisher/naturalist: “Time is but the stream I go fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It’s thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”

The Writer’s Almanac editors reveal a somewhat uncomfortable connection between Thoreau’s accidental burning of the Concord woods while on a fishing trip and the writing of Walden.