I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, to discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and to be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
I'm currently reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau, a gift from my wife, who knows me very well. Very few lines I've read resonate with me as much as these. Much in the same mood as these lines written over 150 years ago, my favorite album of 2008 and one of the most impactful albums ever for me was Bon Iver's “For Emma, Forever Ago,” which was a somber, but uplifting, account of a man alone in the woods, settling with past demons, and eventually coming to terms with himself, emerging from the woods a new creature.