If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer

sunset

Should he turn his spring into summer?

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Should he turn his spring into summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet, what were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality. Shall we with pains erect a heaven of blue glass over ourselves, though when it is done we shall be sure to gaze still at the true ethereal heaven far above, as if the former were not?


by Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)
from Walden: Or Life in the Woods, 1854
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One Response to “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer”

  1. Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string - Ralph Waldo Emerson Says:

    […] For me, this passage is about fully being, fully here, fully now, meeting my own gaze, aiming high, digging in and being a little weird, if weird is the genuine and inspired best of my aspired-to best. It’s about opened eyes and holding myself accountable – like Thoreau’s open soul, as he was hearing a different drummer. […]

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