A Thought to Begin a Year With

The commonest and cheapest sounds, as the barking of a dog, produce the same effect on fresh and healthy ears that the rarest music does. It depends on your appetite for sound. Just as a crust is sweeter to a healthy appetite than confectionery to pampered or diseased one. It is better that these cheap sounds be music to us than that we have the rarest ears for music in any other sense. I have lain awake at night many a time to think of the barking of a dog which I had heard long before, bathing my being again in those waves of sound, as a frequenter of the opera might lie awake remembering the music he had heard.

– Thoreau, Journals, December 27, 1857


  1. says

    “No sound is dissonant which tells of Life.”
    — Coleridge, “This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison,” 1797
    KG replies: That’s really nice. I don’t agree with it, somehow, but it’s really nice.