To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds will separate between him and what he touches. One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Since I'm almost finished with Part One: The Thirties in Emerson Among the Eccentrics I'm going to read "Nature" and "The American Scholar" before continuing on to The Forties.
I wish I could remember what we had to read of Emerson when I was in high school: "Self-Reliance," maybe?