Life in the woods.

Thoreau’s view — 165 years later.

As I was driving past Concord on the way to my hotel on Tuesday night, I saw signs for Walden Pond.  THE Walden Pond.  You know, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond, from his 1854 book Walden.  I remember reading that book back in high school, over 30 years ago.    It made a deep impression upon me at the time, but I haven’t thought about it again since then.   Thoreau decided to live in the woods and did so for over 2 years, from 1845-1847.  He later wrote the book from his notes and observations from the time he lived simply amongst nature.

“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, discover that I had not lived”  – Henry David Thoreau

I really wanted to see Walden Pond for myself.  So, after my last meeting today, I drove there before closing time and took a walk.  It was interesting to see how close the pond is to town, and actually in his book he says that even back in the 1840’s the lot where he built his 1 room cabin was only about 1 mile away from neighboring farms.

There’s a walking trail around the lake, about a 1 3/4 mile loop.   The pond is now a state park and when I arrived it was packed with people sunning on the banks and swimming in the lake.  A little bit more bustling than when Thoreau lived here.

I walked to the site of his cabin.  It’s not there anymore, but the foundation is marked, and there is a huge pile of rocks next to where it stood.  A pile that visitors have been adding to over the years – one rock at a time.   I placed my rock atop the pile before I left.

The picture above is a view from the edge of the pond closest to where his cabin stood – about 100 feet behind me.   I like that I accidentally captured the gibbous moon in the top left corner.

The picture below is one that I took looking up as I was standing in the spot that would have been right outside the front door of his cabin.

Very beautiful.

This is a quote from the park brochure:

“…my friends ask what I will do when I get there.  Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?”  – Henry David Thoreau

You got that right, Henry.

I’ll have to dig up a copy of Walden to re-read, for old time’s sake.

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5 thoughts on “Life in the woods.

  1. How fortunate you are to have experienced this wonderful place and to capture that moon! “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” is my favorite Thoreau quote. Thanks for sharing!

  2. In times of stress, nature is my solace. Has always been. But, believe it or not, I’ve never read Walden Pond. I figure now is about time. Thank you!

  3. Pingback: Walden, or Life in the Woods (1854) « Welcome to the world of the rational individualists!

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