Whose Land?

One of the things I’ve missed the most is the library. I can’t wait to be able to borrow books again. But there’s something good in having to rely on my own library, and that is that I can re-read favorites. I found a collection of Thoreau’s essays while camping last year in a free book exchange, and it stays by my bedside. On returning to his essay Walking, which is filled with gems, this passage resounded with me, and I thought I would share it.

“At present, in this vicinity, the best part of the land is not private property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative freedom. But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only,—when fences shall be multiplied, and man-traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road, and walking over the surface of God’s earth shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman’s grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities, then, before the evil days come.”

—H.D. Thoreau, Walking, page 216

I thought it went well with this recent article by Rebecca Solnit.

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