Thoreau’s Reflection on Rising with the Sun in “Economy”

“To anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if possible, Nature herself! How many mornings, summer and winter, before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine! No doubt, many of my townsmen have met me returning from this enterprise, farmers starting for Boston in the twilight, or woodchoppers going to their work. It is true, I never assisted the sun materially in his rising, but, doubt not, it was of the last importance only to be present at it.” -p.117, 118

Thoreau here speaks of his affection towards his simple life away from the overbearingness and vices of society. To rise with the sun is a frequent narrative used by those who feel at one with nature because they are independent from dull routines and alarm clocks. Instead, Thoreau awakes alongside other animals and creatures, in tune with non-human nature. By attuning to nature’s rhythms, he sees himself as sensing nature itself. His focus on nature, tending to his dear crops, and going about his calm business, rather than wasting time worrying about the face-paced life of Concord. That does not mean Thoreau did not come across various struggles in his lifestyle, but they were inevitable results from simple-living, not societal excesses that could be avoided. In the end, how Thoreau lived made him satisfied and feel he was living his life to the fullest.

One Reply to “Thoreau’s Reflection on Rising with the Sun in “Economy””

  1. Anna,

    When reading I too noticed this quote. I find it quite remarkable how Thoreau attunes himself to nature. This is a rare occasion where I can relate to Thoreau as over the summer this is often how my sleep schedule along with my work schedule align. finding these passages where one can relate to another is essential in capturing the reader’s attention and that is precisely what this passage does for me.

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