Thomas Merton On Thoreau

After those beautiful pages on morning and on being awake, Thoreau writes in his Walden:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the es- sential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

He adds mysteriously, “nor did I wish to practice resignation unless it was quite necessary.” I suppose he means he did not intend to be resigned to any- thing like a compromise with life, unless it could not be avoided.

Thomas Merton December 6, 1950