Walden Pond outside of Concord, Massachusetts, has been on our list of must-see places since we conceived of this road-trip five years ago, and while we’re in the vicinity to visit Lexington and Concord and other important places from early colonial times, we were drawn to this tranquil place on a lovely fall afternoon.
I remember reading Walden in an Advanced Literature class in the 11th grade where I was exposed to poet authors like Thoreau and Whitman and Frost, and while the subject matter of these great writers was sometimes a little over the heads of a classroom of 17-year-olds like me who couldn’t really relate to living in the woods by myself (his self-reliance theme) – even before the everything-is-connected Internet Age – nor did I want much to do with his concept of simple living. Even so, back in 1981 I knew I liked this prose and something in these verses resonated with me.
In Walden, Henry David Thoreau eloquently writes of a simple life in the woods, so to see where he drew his inspiration for over two years, see a model of the house in which he lived, take a walk around Walden Pond on a gorgeous afternoon… it was very meaningful to be in his sanctuary.
Fred, too, has embraced a lot of Thoreau’s transcendental notions. And ever the romantic, he read me passages from Walden as we sat by the pond’s edge. By chance (or was it…?), the one he turned to first was this:
Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify.
Incidentally, I have several Henry David Thoreau sayings randomly appearing in the Quote Of The Day section of our blog. Among my favorites, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Looking back, I know that words like this were pretty powerful and inspiring for a young girl from Wisconsin who wanted to go to college to get an education, then go live a good and happy life. Thank you Henry David Thoreau!
Hover your cursor over the photo, below, then click on the arrows to scroll through photos from our afternoon at Walden Pond:
For more information on the bubbleguy (James Dichter) seen in the photos, check out his website: Bubbleguy. What a treat it was to find him at the bathhouse beach when we returned from our walk around the pond. Of course, we had to stop and photograph him and his wonderful bubbles!