Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sauntering

In his journal for September 13, 1852, Thoreau says: "What I need is not to look at all, but a true sauntering of the eye." Lovely word that, saunter. To walk about at a leisurely pace. Does anyone saunter anymore? With the feet? With the eye? From the Middle English santren, "to muse." This blog, I suppose, is a sort of saunter. Of the eye. Of the mind. I was always a saunterer, which is why I sauntered out of science into writing. To be a first rate scientist these days one has to specialize, unless, of course, one is a genius polymath like, say, Murray Gell-Mann or Stephen Jay Gould. Writing is all about making connections, wandering from place to place with the eyes open. Thoreau's journals are sauntering at its best. He made a career of it.