Review: Ever long for solitude? This essay about a walk in the woods is as close you can get if you can never find the time to achieve solitude. You’re transported into the heart of the woods. And you’re thinking about things. Slowly you grow away from the modern world—in spirit. And you wake up the next day, refreshed and ready to return to the modern world, ready to step on the treadmill again. But you also know you will come to the woods again.
Quote: “Southward, I can hear the traffic on the Mountain Parkway, a steady, continuous roar—the corporate voice of twentieth-century humanity, sustained above the transient voices of its members. Last night, except for an occasional airplane passing over, I camped out of reach of the sounds of engines. For long stretches of time I heard no sounds but the sounds of the woods.”
Quote: “From where I am sitting in the midst of this island of wilderness, it is as though I am listening to the machine of human history—a huge flywheel building speed until finally the force of its whirling will break it in pieces and the world with it.”
Quote: “Today, as always when I am afoot in the woods, I feel the possibility, the reasonableness, the practicability of living in the world in a way that would enlarge rather than diminish the hope of life.”
Quote: “Walking through the woods, you can never see far, either ahead or behind, so you move without much of a sense of getting anywhere or of moving at any certain speed.”
Quote: “All day I have moved through the woods, making as little noise as possible. Slowly, my mind and my nerves have slowed to a walk”
Quote: “…and I go on with the sense that I am passing near to the sleep of things.”
Quote: “What I am leaving is something to look forward to.”
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.