Friday, April 13, 2012

Simply Saturday: The Brink of Creation

Henry David Thoreau, what a character in the history of the United States. He was a little...shall we say...different...than the rest of his colleagues and peers in the literary world; and the world-at-large.

Although he was a rebellious spirit wandering the world, he was an incredibly descriptive writer. I imagine spending all that time on Walden Pond gave him ample opportunity to think about the world and his place in it. As I was reading Walden: The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau, I was immediately transported to world rarely seen by human eyes. Thoreau takes you to the very brink of creation in his writings.

Every minute detail of his prose has been discovered through endeavors of a laborious nature. On pages 246 - 248, there is a description of the formation of the ice over Walden Pond with such intricate detail it took days to observe the process, lying full length on the surface noting every detail as it occured.


Thoreau lived near Walden Pond from 1845 to 1849, on a place given to him by his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the factual essentials of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." ~ Henry D. Thoreau.

Thoreau's life on Walden Pond was lonely and secluded with occasional trips into the nearby village, which he loathed. Although he seemed lonely for the human interaction, if it had not been for his sabbatical to Walden Pond, we would not today know and understand the deepest meanings and intricate details of the natural world surrounding his humble abode.


Initially I set out to read Walden as a means to understand descriptive detailing of landscapes. I find learning from the masters far more intriguing than conforming to the modern techniques of telling tales. In the process I learned a little something about the natural world,  a bit about the society of Thoreau's time, and some about me.

Spring has come to the valley in which I live. Soon the butterflies will return to flutter about on the hot summer days. In all of creation, there is nothing more splendid and peaceful than the flight of the butterfly; no matter where she chooses to flit, or land.