Thoreau’s “Spring”

The catastrophic or horrific and the stunning or marvelous can elude language, at least at the moment they strike, strike us dumb. Thoreau sees that these moments answer a need — surely not a Kantian need of reason, but perhaps a need of the spirit or soul:

“At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable… We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features… We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.”
[Walden, “Spring’]

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