American writer and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was born in Concord, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard, and moved to Walden Pond, "to live deliberately" on July 4, 1845.
He stayed there two years, two months and two days. He wrote poetry, chopped wood, meditated, and lived with the land to find a greater understanding of life.
"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn," he wrote. In 25 years, the reflective journal-keeper wrote almost two million words.
Thoreau championed the human spirit. He discovered that by connecting with nature, life could be a celebration of hopes and dreams. Every person has been given the truly remarkable gift to live life fully. "The world is but a canvas to our imaginations," he philosophized.
His best friend Ralph Waldo Emerson said Thoreau "chose to be rich by making his wants few, and supplying them himself... Every fact lay in glory in his mind, a type of the order and beauty of the whole."
An individualist, a trailblazer, Thoreau sent in motion a new rhythm for the world to dance to. "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
More THOREAU Quotations
Live your dreams. Who else will?