We tend to think of hermits as old, dirty men with long, straggly beards. We don’t tend to think of them as bright-eyed, intelligent men with quite a strong grasp on the world. And really, Henry David Thoreau wasn’t that bad looking, for his time. He did have kind of a weird beard, but I suppose that was the fashion then.
His social experiment at Walden, as I suppose you could call it, was successful. Could a man live on his own, starting from scratch? The country girl part of me, the introvert, craves this sort of living. How lovely would it be to get away from the city, and go off on my own, out where it’s just nature and sky?
But then I think of how much I would miss civilization. I checked in regularly all day yesterday on Tumblr, in between chapters. And there are, of course, the updates on my phone, the texts from friends, etc etc etc. And don’t forget Game of Thrones last night OMGGGGGG.
What was I talking about again? Oh, right, Walden. Things sure were simpler back then. Farming was just a hoe in the ground, and up sprang more beans than Thoreau could handle. So many that he said, “Holy shit, I’m never doing that again!” They harvested ice, Frozen-style, from the lake in the winter. He knew the bird calls, and described them perfectly in his book. I loved that.
This was just a lovely book. I’ve had it on my shelf forever, but I kept putting it off. I had tried to start it in college, but I hadn’t ridden far enough into life yet, so it didn’t mean anything to me. I think you have to go through some debt, some tough knocks in order to connect with this. Otherwise, you are going to read a few pages in the Economy chapter and just not care less. And once you get through that Economy chapter, it does get much easier to connect. But the first chapter, really, is the most important.
I was reminded of my grandmother several times. There’s nothing more happy for her than to walk along the river back home, looking at the trees and listening to the birds. She used to know several calls, and named every heron “Pete.” I emailed her today, and she said this was one of her favorite books and had read it many times. I saw her in so many of the pages…I’m curious to see her copy. She taught me to love and appreciate nature, as Thoreau did.
Book#1 for TreesofReverie ROT