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Walking by Henry David Thoreau
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by Henry David Thoreau

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and
wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely
civil--to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of
Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an
extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there
are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school
committee and every one of you will take care of that.

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life
who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks--who
had a genius, so to speak, for SAUNTERING, which word is
beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the
country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of
going a la Sainte Terre," to the Holy Land, till the children
exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, a
Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks,
as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they
who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean.
Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre without land
or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having
no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is
the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house
all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the
saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the
meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the