Quote/UnQuote: The Gifts of Twilight (A Corner View* Post)

The solitude of a rainstorm, the beauty of twilight … these are times to turn inward to reflect and renew.


Twilight reflections. photo by Tzivia Gover, 2015

For me dreaming isn’t just something I do at night when I sleep. I’m a dreamer all day long and I cherish long moments when my mind can wonder and wander. With distractions always at hand (literally in the age of the smart phone) the words of Henry David Thoreau become increasingly precious to me. (HDT does’t write in soundbites, so switch off the phone and settle in for a rambling read…)

“Some of my pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves. In those driving northeast rains which tried the village houses so, when the maids stood ready with mop and pail in front entries to keep the deluge out, I sat behind my door in my little house, which was all entry, and thoroughly enjoyed its protection. In one heavy thunder-shower the lightning struck a large pitch pine across the pond, making a very conspicuous and perfectly regular spiral groove from top to bottom, an inch or more deep, and four or five inches wide, as you would groove a walking-stick. I passed it again the other day, and was struck with awe on looking up and beholding that mark, now more distinct than ever, where a terrific and resistless bolt came down out of the harmless sky eight years ago. Men frequently say to me, “I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.” I am tempted to reply to such- This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar…. I one evening overtook one of my townsmen, who has accumulated what is called “a handsome property”- though I never got a fair view of it- on the Walden road, driving a pair of cattle to market, who inquired of me how I could bring my mind to give up so many of the comforts of life. I answered that I was very sure I liked it passably well; I was not joking. And so I went home to my bed, and left him to pick his way through the darkness and the mud to Brighton- or Bright-town- which place he would reach some time in the morning.”

–Henry David Thoreau, “On Solitude”


*Corner View* is a weekly appointment – each Wednesday, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is “Twilight.”


Filed under Quote UnQuote

9 responses to “Quote/UnQuote: The Gifts of Twilight (A Corner View* Post)

  1. “on solitude”, he. i think i like that… i think i do. i’ve never read the man… n♥

  2. Wow, yes, such a solitude! And today we have so many `friends` so its hard to feel lonely even, but we also miss out on that expanded sense of time `away from it all` which is really so full if we can enter that space!!
    Yesterday I took some part of the day and twilight to just watch the sunflower and morning glory on the balcony. When Y came in I was just lying on the tatami watching the morning glory leaves swaying in the wind. Thankfully she didn`t seem to think anything strange about that, but she was preoccupied with her phone messages!! Maybe we are lucky to be the last generation that grew up without cell phones and such fast technology. I wish I could find a way to share that importance with Y, but lately she doesn`t seem interested… thank you fro sharing the passage and reminder of that importance!!

  3. Time alone or alone time is so important. I try to do it often – even if it is just locking myself up in the bathroom for a moment, away from my kids.

  4. I love HDT and I love how he is referenced in a favorite movie of mine called All that Heaven Allows. Love this post.

  5. What a great discription!

  6. kirstenbackstrom

    Thanks for this, Tzivia. I’ve got Thoreau’s journals on my bookshelf, and it’s been forty years since I read them. You (and he) have re-inspired me.

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