Three quotes from Thoreau:

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” (from Walden)

“In Boston yesterday an ornithologist said significantly—If you held the bird in your hand—but I would rather hold it in my affections…” (in a journal entry on May 10, 1854)

“How much lies quietly buried in the ground that we wot not of. We unconsciously step over the eggs of snapping turtles slowly hatching the summer through.” (in a journal entry on August 26, 1854)


Beneath the surface of everything, beyond the sphere contained to our conscious experience, there is always something more.

The screaming signs about sales, the glimmer of an extravagant diamond necklace, the vapid stare of the ultra-thin mannequin, the blank expressions of those crowded next to you on the train…everything contains a deeper story, one you may not know.

I once told a wise friend about a major loss I had experienced. She said, “You don’t have to own something to be able to have it.”

And on the flip side, having and holding something doesn’t mean you own it or know it. Holding a bird in your hand doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve seen each other, or heard the melodies hidden inside each other.

Turns out there’s a lot in common between ornithology, art, and life.

What would change if instead of seeking to have more, we strove to hold something first in our affections by learning to see it as clearly as our compassion can extend?