Today is Henry David Thoreau’s 195th Birthday. Or would be, if had extreme longevity of life.
In honor of this auspicious day, I give you this above photo taken at Walden Pond last year during our New England Road Trip. The likeness of Thoreau is both striking and contemplative, don’t you think?
I also give you this excerpt from one of his essays:
“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks […]
Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again—if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man—then you are ready for a walk.”
Again, striking and contemplative. I’m sensing a theme here. Can you imagine launching out on such a walk? An act that to me has always been synonymous with leisure, and digesting Thanksgiving dinner, and passive in many respects. Yet Thoreau says to truly embark on a walk — in the most honest and true way — one must be willing to never return. As if the walk was itself an exploration of a new world, full on Magellan-style. Food for thought.
And finally, I offer this video, pulled from the vaults just this morning. The first half has absolutely nothing to do with Thoreau, but the second half is all about Concord, Walden Pond, and a special little cabin:
Happy 195th Birthday, H.D. Thoreau. You don’t look a day over 190.