Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Michael, Thoreau the boat ashore?
In today's edition of The Writer's Almanac, which we talked about yesterday a little, is the following snippet of fascinating but useless information:
On this day in 1862, Henry David Thoreau (author of Walden; that's his picture there in the corner) died of tuberculosis. He was 44. His aunt asked him if he was at peace with God. Thoreau said, “I was not aware that we had quarreled.” The last clear thing he said was, “Now comes good sailing,” and then two words: “moose” and “Indian.”
I was going to end the post here and just say, “Okay, but what's the point?” and then I remembered a famous poem (well, it used to be famous) by one of Thoreau's contemporaries that seems a fitting commentary:
Crossing the Bar
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
R.I.P., Henry David Thoreau. Now comes good sailing, indeed.