I have been reading ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau, in fits and starts, diving in and out of the words like a kingfisher. Which is an appropriate metaphor, as the following startling and beautiful paragraph is the end product of Thoreau’s thoughts about fishing and eating fish. Which leads him to food and the required effort of finding sustenance generally. But it resonates with so much more, which is the appeal to me of the whole book.

‘If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal, -that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and real to man are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.’