Thoreau’s Shoulder (The Grove)

“Chaos and ancient night, I come no spy with purpose to explore or to disturb the secrets of your realm, but as my way lies through your spacious empire up to light”. – Henry David Thoreau

You wrote increasingly of the earth as if she were a mix of your judge and mother, and you spared no lack of fond adjectives in describing her both in bearable and tempering terms. You often scolded your own thoughts spoken before your ink donned the paper, whispering aloud, “the cove bends around the grove, before the grandfatherly Red Maple, or it does not”. At times, you muttered secrets, which we shall not tell here, except to say, “If man’s thoughts could be round like the stand then perhaps he would be less judgmental”. Your discourse aloud and in the written word explored heavy mysteries discovered upon the warm nights and thought out better when the winter was cold, and no sound could be heard, except that of the crackling fire.

My eyes grew bleary on occasion watching your quill move swiftly like a rapier cross cutting its way through battle. When perchance a hint of mysticism or witchery would catch your observance, you were quick to shame it in the scuffle you held for balanced thought. Your subject matter on civil discourse and that of disobedience, once carried a debate against yourself for an amount of some days. It was upon that occasion, I first heard your mention of madness, and I wondered if for that certain time, you might entertain talk of what confidences you thought might be in the circular grove.

You often brought to your tight cabin, assortments of leaves, pebbles and berries. In which each by fair lantern light you would caress tenderly, saying each by its organic name and what blessing it might bring as cure or spell from evil. For each gathered collection of abundance from the forest or pond, you would meditate well upon it, before committing its designation to publish. For when you wrote of it, you disguised each magical quality it contained, as a naturalist does when face to face with that which cannot be explained.

Your forays to the grove grew with more frequency before September in one year, and I would suspect now, it was your last one before leaving. It was beyond my ability to cross over there, but it was on such an occasion, near sunrise as you left the wood that you appeared to see me standing there. “You are either an external shadow, or I am internally with flame“, you whispered aloud, as if interfering with some magic happening within your round of trees. There was little more as you went on to the cabin, and I was with you, silent for the rest of the day. That night as you left for your faithful journey to that round of mystery below “Bare Peak“, you suddenly turned outside your door and rubbed your right shoulder, as if it bore a special pain. “I think we should go no further”, was all you had to say, and with that I found myself drifting without right, silently toward the grove and away. – 09.15.2018 – דָּנִיֵּאל

56 thoughts on “Thoreau’s Shoulder (The Grove)

  1. I wasn’t expecting this when I saw the title, but let me say, this piece is so deep and beautiful, that I will be reading and re-reading for some time just to take it all in. I hope you have more to this upcoming!!!


  2. You had me at the first stanza. “You wrote increasingly of the earth as if she were a mix of your judge and mother, and you spared no lack of fond adjectives in describing her both in bearable and tempering terms.” Amazing tribute to an amazing man.


  3. I loved this, the words hold magic, for a few minutes I was a time traveler with you. I love anything to do with Thoreau, and you have done this up well. Putting you on my reader and looking forward to your future post.


  4. This tribute is amazing from beginning to end. The way it ends is wonderful just as the way it begins. I also love the quote from Thoreau, from his climb of the Maine Mountains I believe. Wonderfully written. ❤


      • A favorite quote of mine from HT’s journey that fall, I thought you might like. “This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man’s garden, but the unhandseled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor wasteland…Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific…rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! ” Enjoy! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am abashed to say, I have never read any Thoreau. Still, this work holds much meaningful inuendoe when in the circle of the grove.
    Sounds like a fab place for a Whitby picnic!


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