Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Walden Pond

"The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore," so wrote Henry David Thoreau, who did long frequent it, living two years, two months, and two days by its shore in a 14’4” x 10’4” x 14’ (peak) wooden cabin that he built himself.

A replica of the cabin stands there now, and aside from the quotidian comforts of tourist sites, from rest rooms to a gift shop, Walden Pond today looks much as one might imagine it did while Thoreau was learning "that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

Even at the peak of Fall, the colors are surprisingly muted, with much green remaining. And (unlike in summer) visitors are sparse, families strolling along the shore, a few hardy souls kayaking or even swimming. It is a peaceful setting, and a pleasant respite from the world of tyrants and tit-men whom lovers of the individual contemn in any place and time.

But two hours, two minutes, and two seconds is a likely better span before most of us nowadays "could not spare any more time".

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