As My Great Aunt Rosa used to say, “Oh, dear!”
As I walked past the warning sign for deer crossing, I thought of the story a friend told me. He was listening to a local station, talk radio. A caller complained about a deer-crossing sign. “The highway department out to move that sign,” she said. “I hit a deer about half a mile away. Deer ain’t crossing at that sign!”
I smiled as I was browsing Amazon for music to play. I came across customer reviews for piano courses. One woman wrote that her husband gave her the five books of the John Thompson Modern Course for the Piano for a Valentine’s Day present. Would I like to know this couple?
Notes on Reading. Nonfiction. Jeffrey S. Cramer. I To Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau. Yale University Press, 2007.
Cramer’s selections give a comprehensive portrait of the writer. Selections I most enjoyed are those dealing with friendship, observations of sights and sounds on walks, chasing a run-away pig, joys of skating, rantings about society, and thoughts of mortality on the occasion of the death of the author’s father.
Cramer’s annotations are useful in understanding allusions to classical mythology and literature, the Bible, and contemporary events, places, and people.
For the scholar there is “Choice of Copy Text and Editorial Emendations” and an extensive bibliography. For the general reader, there is a useful subject index.
Quotations from Thoreau’s Journal.
“The great story of the night is the moon’s adventures with the clouds. What innumerable encounters she has had with them!” (June 25, 1852)
“I perceive that we partially die ourselves through sympathy at the death of each of our friends or near relatives. Each such experience is an assault on our vital force.” (February 3, 1859)
“The silent depth and serenity and majesty of water!” (July 13, 1851)
“It is always essential that we love to do what we are doing, do it with a heart.” (September 2, 1859)
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” (August 23, 1853)