I read Thoreau and I teach Thoreau because he remains one of the few thinkers whose words resonate down and through succeeding generations, and what he said then is equally prescient, inspiring, and/or damning today. Thoreau's words roil me out of any rut I find myself in—and life, dammit, no matter how wealthy, happy, or settled you are—is going to be full of ruts, some that we dig ourselves and some that are laid out in front of us by fate or circumstance. You are old enough now to be preparing yourself to deal with those ruts, and if you don’t think so, look in the mirror. You’re not a boy anymore, so don’t act like one.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be working on or first essay, and I expect it to be the best essay you have ever written—an essay that you care about because you have put in the time to prepare yourself to write it—and you will take the time to craft it word by word to say exactly what you think and mean and believe Thoreau is trying to get across in the first chapter of Walden, titled “Economy.”
If you don’t, you are just wounding eternity—and when that happens, you can't click undo.