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As Thoreau Lay Dying in 1862

As Thoreau Lay Dying in 1862

“I never saw a man dying with so much pleasure and peace,” was the remark made afterwards by one of his visitors–which recalls to mind the last words of Thoreau’s last letter: “I am enjoying existence as much as ever, and regret nothing.”

Several of his utterances on these occasions were very characteristic. When Channing, the faithful and intimate companion of his walks and studies, hinted at the weary change that had now come over his life, and how “solitude began to peer out curiously from the dells and wood roads,” he whispered in reply. “It is better some things should end.” he said to Alcott that he “should leave the world without a regret.” Not in these last weary months of suffering did he lose his shrewd humor and native incisiveness of speech. “Well, Mr. Thoreau, we must go,” said a well-meaning visitor, who thought to comfort dying man by the ordinary platitudes. “When I was a boy,” answered Thoreau. “I learnt that I must die, so I am not disappointed now; death is as near to you as it is to me.” When asked whether he “had made peace with God,” he replied that “he had never quarreled with him.” He was invited by another acquaintance to enter into a religious conversation concerning the next world. “One world at a time,” was the quiet retort. –Henry S. Salt.

Death is always near. Make our peace on each breath.

Adapted from The Tao of Now, by Josh Baran (Hampton Roads, 2008).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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11:47AM PST on Jan 18, 2013


10:57AM PST on Jan 18, 2013


12:45AM PST on Jan 18, 2013


5:26PM PST on Jan 17, 2013

One world at a time, one moment at a time - today is a gift, hence it is called the present...

6:19PM PST on Jan 19, 2012

Thank you

5:02PM PST on Jan 19, 2012


7:25PM PST on Jan 17, 2012


5:51PM PST on Jan 17, 2012

Wonderful. I have been a fan of Thoreau, since i first read his writings, and have tried to fashion my writing in such a manner. This was a great reminder that alot of us are living too fast and need to slow down and enjoy the wonder again. I hope when my time comes i have the chance to pass as gracefully and eloquently as Mr. Thoreau

4:25PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Thank you Annie.

4:28PM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

Good article, thank you

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