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We Are Only Visitors Here, We Are Not Permanent

In the face of looming conflict between nuclear powers, this quote from Thoreau comes to mind. Homo sapiens, despite all of their intelligence, will not have the same lasting power as an ordinary deer mouse. Emphasis mine.

…A single track, thus stretching away almost straight, sometimes half a dozen rods, over unspotted snow, is very handsome, like a chain of a new pattern; and then they suggest an airy lightness in the body that impressed them. Though there may have been but one or two here, the tracks suggesting quite a little company that had gone gadding over to their neighbors under the opposite bush. Such is the delicacy of the impression on the surface of the lightest snow, where other creatures sink, and night, too, being the season when these tracks are made, they remind me of a fairy revel. It is almost as good as if the actors were here. I can easily imagine all the rest. Hopping is expressed by the tracks themselves. Yet I should like much to see by broad daylight a company of these revellers hopping over the snow. There is a still life in America that is little observed or dreamed of. Here were possible auditors and critics which the lecturer at the Lyceum last night did not think of. How snug they are somewhere under the snow now, not to be thought of, if it were not for these pretty tracks! And for a week, or fortnight even, of pretty still weather the tracks will remain, to tell of the nocturnal adventures of a tiny mouse who was not beneath the notice of the Lord. So it was so many thousands of years before Gutenberg invented printing with his types, and so it will be so many thousands of years after his types are forgotten, perchance. The deer mouse will be printing on the snow of Well Meadow to be read by a new race of men.

Henry David Thoreau, January 15, 1857

I’m going through both Henry David Thoreau: A Life and Now Comes Good Sailing: Writers Reflect on Henry David Thoreau now; the books remind me again of how much Thoreau has impacted me and so many others. How fitting the prediction that when and if mankind causes itself to crumble in the inferno of nuclear war, that it is not only the roaches that will be left relatively unaffected but also rodents, like our deer mouse.

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