Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Walden Pond


Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water. It needs no fence. Nations come and go without defiling it. It is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off, whose gilding Nature continually repairs; no storms, no dust, can dim its surface ever fresh; -- a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun's hazy brush -- this the light dust-cloth -- which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still. -- Henry David Thoreau

This weekend was our last weekend of insane travel for awhile. We were in Boston for a long weekend, for a lovely family event. And though the schedule was grueling (up at 4:30 to make a 7am flight), the time we spent was memorable.

Monday, before catching a flight home, my sister-in-law took us to Walden Pond, near Concord, MA. The area is now a Massachusetts state park. We saw the replica of the tiny cabin Thoreau built and spent two year in, thinking and writing and living simply. We also walked along the shore of the pond to the original site where it stood. Next to the site, visitors have left rocks as a memorial, and now the pile of rocks is quite large.

It was a really beautiful and peaceful spot. I didn't bring my camera (and good thing, since we were drenched in a sudden spring downpour), but I found a few shots on the internet (the top one at Freefoto, by a photographer called Ian Britton). We only encountered a few people hiking around the pond on that cloudy day, but my sister-in-law says the beach gets crowded in the summer when people come to swim.

I'm glad people can enjoy the beauty of the spot, but it is funny to think of Thoreau's place of contemplation filled with summer picnickers and beachgoers!

I have never read Thoreau's work, but I have two of his books on my shelf: Walden, and Cape Cod. I hope to get to both soon!

12 comments:

Lezlie said...

I liked "Walden". It had a lot of passages that made me think a lot about living more simply. So much of it sounds so appealing.

Have a great day!
Lezlie

verbivore said...

We lived in MA for a while and visited Walden pond a few times - such a lovely place. It's not hard to see why Thoreau would have chosen the spot.

Jeane said...

I haven't read it either, but have a copy of Walden waiting on my shelf. It looks like a beautiful location, which I'd love to visit myself, one day.

Gentle Reader said...

lezlie--I'm very curious about Walden considering how popular the idea of living more simply is today...

thanks for stopping by!

verbivore--I was really struck by the beauty of the area. My sister-in-law lives in a suburb of Boston, and when I visit I love exploring the area--compared to L.A., where you have to go so far to get out of the city, the areas surrounding Boston are bucolic and gorgeous! In some ways, it reminds me of the San Francisco area, where I grew up...

jeane--It's amazing how close to Boston Walden Pond is, and it's so rural-feeling. Walden Pond is beautiful, hope you get there one day!

Table Talk said...

'Walden' is one of those books that UK readers tend to have heard of but never read. I'm one of the never-readers I'm ashamed to say. I must add it to my summer reading list because that whole community fascinates me.

Gentle Reader said...

table talk--I agree--the Transcendentalists fascinate me, and basically everyone who lived in the same neighborhood as Emerson and Thoreau!

stefanie said...

I am so insanely jealous right now. Did you go to Emerson house too by any chance?

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--We drove through Concord and drove by Emerson's house and also Orchard House, home of the Alcotts. Sadly, I didn't have my camera with me :( I would have liked to have visited Emerson's grave in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery, but didn't have time. We were on a very short trip, so I didn't get to do as much literary tourism as I would have liked (plus I have to fight for it in my family, anyway--the kids just aren't interested!).

Jaimie said...

Beautiful photos! I did a study on Transcendentalist authors a while back and it was very enlightening. I hope you and your family had a great time at your gathering. Have a great week!

Gentle Reader said...

jaimie--I'd like to learn more about the Transcendentalists...an interesting group, that's for sure! We had a very nice trip...thank you!

John Mutford said...

I found Walden insanely boring. I wanted to buy a T.V. afterwards just out of spite.

Gentle Reader said...

john--Lol! I wonder if I'd feel the same...I'll let you know!