Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is an iconic Yankee manifesto. I am a Yankee, yet I had never read it. I opened it expecting a clarification of our American spirit, like reading Walt Whitman. As a memoirist, I found a similarity between his book and my own; man/woman goes into unfamiliar territory with the express intention of re-inventing him/herself, and along the way, comments on the principles, practices, religions, and habits of the world around him/her. Like Thoreau, I wanted 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.” I have lived to seventy-six, Thoreau died at forty-five. Our lives have played out in different eras, but I shared his aspirations and looked forward to reading the book.
One section of Thoreau’s work is his clear, accurate, prescient, and poetic descriptions of Nature. In the final chapters, he describes Walden Pond in winter and spring, and the animals, human and otherwise, visiting it. His clear and reverent style approaches the poetic. Read More