The Birds - The New Yorker: "Thoreau, in a mysteriously beautiful passage in his 1862 essay “Walking,” likens the diminishing numbers of passenger pigeons in New England to the dwindling number of thoughts in a man’s head, “for the grove in our minds is laid waste.” Thinking of the birds as missing thoughts is a good way to honor them. Martha and her billions were undone by the complicated, pitiless tangle of our modern industrialized world, but Thoreau’s nineteenth-century protest—“Simplify, simplify”—will not help us in the twenty-first. Indeed, when it comes to our relationship to nature, the wish for simplicity may be the most destructive thing in the world. ♦
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