I purchased the book Walden maybe last summer and thought I should read it. I thought I hear people refer to it and thought it must be worthy it was published in 1854 and is still being reprinted today. Always makes for a good Jeopardy question.
So between calls for the last few weeks I have been reading and trying to absorb what he is saying about his life on the Pond. Two years, two months and two days. He lived near the pond about 2 miles outside of the town of Concord, Massachusetts in the mid 1800's. To me this would be wilderness but to him he was just outside town.
I thought tonight I wanted to start with a quote and I love the website Brainy Quotes and found this one:
Ironically the book is laying on the couch and I got up and decided I wanted to write a review even before I finish to encourage some of you, maybe just one of you to pick it up or borrow it and read it.
I read his description of the pond the other day and thought no normal person today or any day could have written this description. Most people I know could not sit and observe the pond long enough to learn this much. Which lead me to believe that a true writer has to have patience beyond belief. There is no other way for them to see what they see even if it is inside their head without viewing it from different angles or different perspectives or the same perspective on a different day. You could not walk up to the edge of the Grand Canyon and stand there in awe of it for 10 minutes and go yep it is deep and get out of it what a photographer that has spent weeks observing the light and shadows a then determine just the moment that he wants to capture forever. It is not to say that the casual viewer can not take a beautiful picture but they can not see the transformation through the day and decide just which view is the perfect one for them.
In his two years or so there he lived and observed the sights, sounds, smells. Describes views from the road or as someone walks through the wood to the the pond to go fishing or for a swim. How a hollowed out tree canoe could be left and shared by whomever shows up. Unbelievable. What would someone do today if their boat they never used was borrowed and safely returned. Crazy. But why. You aren't using it why not let the neighbor. Hmmm.
I also learned new words or old words I should say that are no longer used. Thank God for Google. I had to look up the word rod as in a term of measurement. The term was used to survey the land. A rod is 5 1/2 yards long. He uses it to describe distances throughout the book.
I find his words amazing. He describes the color of the water in the pond as a reflection of the trees, the sky or the sand on the bottom. And compares it to looking at a pile of broken glass and how it has a green tint to it but a single piece of glass is clear. How is that. The images are so clear. You don't have to imagine, his words paint the picture.
A man riding by in a wagon comparing his field of beans to the field a mile or so away. A train going by doesn't stop yet the conductor remembers the view of the pond that evening. A person leaving the pond after dark and can not find his way out. The night is clear but no moon. No light. Your feet must find their way because your eyes can not see it. These are not his exact words but the visions in my head from what I have read.
I will try to finish this weekend but it is not an easy read. I have to stop and re-read some sentences the words are not spelled the way we do today, or are not used as we would. But the images if he were a painter everyone would be able to see the beauty. Even those without the patience to read the words that paint the pictures.
I glanced to the Conclusion tonight to see what is coming and he directs his view inward as he says:
"Direct your eye right inward and you'll find
A thousand regions in your mind
Yet undiscovered. Travel them and be
Expert in home-cosmography."
In other words there are places you have never been inside your mind or as I envision in your own yard. Check them out. They may be as beautiful as a place distant and will not cost you near as much to travel to and if in your head you can find these places of refuge on your own instead of spending a fortune to let drugs or a doctor lead you there. You are better off for finding your own way than being pointed in a way someone else has already been.
So I guess I am saying don't read the book because I did. Read so that you can say that you did and then you will know Walden pond the same way Henry David Thoreau knew it 150 years ago.
Makes me want to go.