Dawn is rosy-fingered this morning,
reaching over the Swannanoa Range,
and I am cutting the Service Day clean
up of Carrier Park where I used to take
my son to watch the stock car races —
now gentrified and part of our green
I have a Service-Learning Disability:
but mean to be doing Alternative I hope
Equivalent Forms of serving.
You’ve probably read Thoreau’s blog,
called Walden, assigned as early as 11th
grade—specimens, at least, if not the
whole kit and caboodle..
You must have a genius for charity as
well as for anything else,” says David.
As for Doing Good, that is one of the
professions which we are full.
“Moreover, I have tried it fairly, and,
strange as it may seem, am satisfied
that it does not agree with my
Probably I should not consciously and
deliberately forsake my particular
calling to do the good which society
demands of me, to save the universe
from annihilation…but I would not
stand between any man and his genius;
and to him who does this work, which
I decline, with his whole heart and soul
and life, I would say,
even if the world call it
doing evil, as it is most likely they will.”
Rescue the drowning and tie your
shoestrings, Thoreau advises. I would
not walk across the street to save the world.
He who gives himself entirely to his fellow
men appears to them useless and selfish;
but he who gives himself partially to them
is pronounced a benefactor and
philanthropist. (Civil Disobedience)
These are like parts in the bible that don’t fit
standard notions of salvation and surely
goodness and mercy, and are not easily
foregrounded in our image of HDT.
What was he thinking?
It was a different world.
Wasted and Useful Lives
We all love Thoreau, Patron saint of Greening.
Like Mother Teresa, he had his dark side:
seemingly somewhat Misanthropic.
It’s useful to see him as a drop
out not much older than our
students—unable to find
work he liked (teaching,
didn’t suit, nor pencil
making or baby
And so: squatting on some of Emerson’s
lake side he blogged & wasted his precious
time: liberal art model to some but not for everyone.