Tribute to Henry David Thoreau

Today I visited Concord and the nearby Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau stayed alone for two years. These photos, which I took today, are my tribute to him and his writings.  The captions are all quotations by Thoreau, taken from Walden.

Have you read Thoreau?  What do you think of him?

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

 

“I went to the woods because I wished 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.”  ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“I went to the woods because I wished 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.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

 

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”  ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for  society.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”

"If  the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself."

“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.”

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment: 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.”

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: 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.”

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Tribute to Henry David Thoreau

  1. Thoreau stgrongly influenced my life after reading him in American Literature and after. Because of Thoreau I camped with my children all over the west, I took a 10 day National Outdoor Leadership School survival course in the Rockies, I moved with my children into my grandmother’s empty house in western Carlton County, northern MN, on 80 acres of woods, fields, and a dirt road for a year. Then it looked something like your photo of Thoreau’s interior. Everything he has written has been true in my life experience. I appreciated reading Thoreau again with your photos. From now on I’ll call him Henry.

    • Wow, Barbara. I didn’t know you did all that. So are you now able to survive alone in the woods? I certainly am not! I could barely survive the guesthouse I stayed in because they didn’t have coffee makers in our rooms, and they didn’t open their room with the coffee maker until 8:00 a.m. O, the struggles I have endured!

  2. What great photos. Thank you for sharing them. It makes me want to dig out my Walden copy which I haven’t read in years. I am quite fascinated by his tombstone- just his first name, appropriately simple.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Letizia. There was a larger tombstone for the Thoreau family in general, and then a bunch of smaller tombstones for each of the members of the family. I noticed that this was the pattern for a lot of the tombstone groupings in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery.

  3. I agree that his ideas are not very practical, but they are inspiring nonetheless. I’m not even a hard-core nature lover, but he writes so well that he tempts me to move out to the woods (where I would probably die within a week from my own helplessness.)

    I imagine he would be appalled at Concord, with all the businesses advertising things like “Walden Liquors,” “Thoreauly Antique,” etc.

  4. Hello Debra thank you for this. Have been hoping you would make it there…There is quite a number of greats from that period in Concord. Once I had Thoreau’s notebooks and never managed to get all from them there is to get.

    My brother Jim lives there – (978)-371-1039. He’s a nice fellow,

    Anyway Walden the book and Thoreau are both wildly misunderstood, according to me. Though it is true he preached civil disobedience he was in no way a pacifist, as his comments on the pyramids show very clearly. His anarchism was astute and “historical”.

    Having not been there for about 20 years it appears a cottage has been built on the site of his…tha! would raise a smile.

    One of the ironies of Thoreau is how his most famous quotation is ungrammatical: “the mass of men lead lives” lead being the third person plural verb of the subject mass, a singular noun. It is however quite a struggle to try to fix it so that it is both beautiful and true and “correct” English.

    It is true – so say I – that much of his philosophy is impractical nonsense, Nonetheless there are terrific insights in Walden about many many things.

    Enjoy your stay. Shot heard round the world…Bang!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s