Based on his passion for the subject, Henry David Thoreau was forced to abandon society and everything he ever knew to pursue a deeper connection with nature – and even had to dedicate a good portion of his best works to talking about it. Curated here are the best quotes about nature credited to Henry David Thoreau.
Nature is a Gift to Humanity
All good things are wild and free.
This is a very popular one-liner quote from Henry David Thoreau – with meanings that run deep beyond those few words. Thoreau’s interest in the wild and all things natural is as intense and passionate as his activism for selfhood and individualism.
With this great quote, Thoreau rehashes his activism and support of nature as the only perfect gift for humanity. In most of the author’s lectures and writings about nature, readers will find that he is constantly urging his audience and students to embrace nature and strive towards accepting and honoring it, as it’s the only way they can fully live.
Henry David Thoreau believes that society is putting a price tag on the things nature offered free to man. For this reason, the author argues that society is heavily flawed and, therefore can not give one the joy and freedom that one seeks, even though they exist freely and naturally in nature.
Living Simpler and More Naturally Has Greater Benefits
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.
As a child, Henry David Thoreau’s upbringing was of humble means, and this very well prepared him for the kind of man he would eventually grow into – which no doubt was a modest one.
It must have been hard for a man of Thoreau’s caliber to abandon everything he’s ever earned in society – his education, job, property, and also friends and family members – and sojourn into the wilderness, spending two years there and living by the most simplified lifestyle ever possible.
In all of these, Thoreau has a very important lesson for readers to take home, and that is summarized by the need for people to learn to survive in conditions that are seemingly harsh and impossible because when this is mastered, anyone can become unbreakable, Thoreau believed.
Nature Guards the Essence of Life
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…
Carpe diem, or living life to the fullest, was a popular motto for Henry David Thoreau, and didn’t he live by that rule? Thoreau wanted much more from life than he was getting; he wanted a life that wasn’t going to be obstructed by human bias or society rules; he was mostly anti-social convention because he viewed them as just another construct designed on a flawed foundation and served nothing but misled people.
Henry David Thoreau yearned for liberty from the normal ways of living known to everyone and went into the wild for two years seeking clarity of purpose and life. This, he eventually finds at the end of his sojourn as he returned to society with shocking social proof and a new outlook on life.
Little Natural Things are What Hold Life Together
…for my greatest skill has been to want but little.
Thoreau’s two-year spell in Walden Pond taught him at least one very clear lesson, and that is that small, negligible things are what give and hold life together. With this perspective on life, Henry David Thoreau would then go on and criticize CEOs, political charlatans, and social movers for embezzling and amassing wealth and securities, even though they only need just a little to have a happy life.
There’s Enough Providence in Nature to Serve All Humankind
I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
Thoreau, naturally, was a man whose lifelong indoctrination had always been based on physical and spiritual modesty and surviving on little means. From Adam, he and his three siblings learned contentment from their parents, who were not so well-to-do, and by adulthood, Thoreau knew better than joining society, people scramble over popular means, which, in his opinion, didn’t have the finer essence of life.
Is Henry David Thoreau a nature writer?
Yes, Thoreau was a thinker and scholar who enjoyed writing about nature and the wild. He was of the idea that humanity had not fully tapped into the whole goodness of nature, and at one point in his life, he disappeared from society for two years and lived in the wilderness as he sought to better understand and enjoy the full goodness of nature.
What is a great one-liner quote about nature by Henry David Thoreau?
‘All good things are wild and free.’
How influential is Thoreau’s nature writing to nature activism?
More than a hundred years after his death, Henry David Thoreau has continued to be a source of inspiration to environmentalists and nature activists through his works, thanks to his profoundness in subjects related to nature.