I gave this to my…

I gave this to my students today. I thought some of you could use it too. :-)

Emerson Assignment: Walk in the Woods

Spend 30-60 minutes alone in nature, not thinking (as much as possible). If you must do something, gardening, sketching, taking photos are all good options. Try to turn off the analytical part of your brain. Lying down in the grass and staring at the leaves or stars overhead is a good option. Going to the lake and watching the waves is also excellent. If you can get to woods or fields easily, walking in them is terrific.

When you've spent the time there, write 1/2 page typed response. It doesn't have to be analytical. A poem is fine, for example. Bullet points. Random thoughts. Long, wandery descriptions. How it made you feel. Anything that comes out of you in response is fine.


"To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me.

The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet. This is the best part of these men's farms, yet to this their warranty-deeds give no title...

In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says,  he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.

Crossing a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky, without having in my thoughts any occurrence of special good fortune, I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear

To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough."

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