One of my pleasures is to find a BART car with clean windows and a reason to ride, because short of having a private car and driver or my own airplane it’s the best way to savor Oakland’s topography. And with the accumulation of walks taken and drives made, I see and recognize more and more detail in that familiar view. In Walden Thoreau wrote, quoting Cowper: “With respect to landscapes, — ‘I am monarch of all I survey, / My right there is none to dispute.’ I have frequently seen a poet withdraw, having enjoyed the most valuable part of a farm, while the crusty farmer supposed that he had got a few wild apples only.”
The emphasis Thoreau placed on the word survey implies both looking over in a synoptic sense and traversing on foot with scopes and stakes. On BART I do the first while recollecting the second.