30 June 2010

Reading Thoreau’s Walden

.
I have just finished reading Thoreau’s Walden. My immediate reaction is one of mild shock, and I am astonished at the likenesses between Thoreau and myself.
.
Let me explain. I had always thought that I had read most of Walden, either completely or in major part. But I hadn’t. I had tried to read it in excerpts or from library copies when I was in high school, but I could never finish it then. I was bored with its length.
.
I always recognized – from the bits of Thoreau that I had read and from reports of his life – that he and I were very close spiritual brothers. In my first major hitchhiking trip in 1968, right after high school and before the Marine Corps, I went to Concord, Mass. and to Walden Pond. It was an almost “religious” moment for me to stand alone at the site of Thoreau’s cabin.
.
I know that I will read Walden again and savor it over time, and eventually I may write a longer review of it. Here I will just say that I have found a true personal classic.
.

4 comments:

  1. I have the book downloaded to read on my iPad. Started reading it and yes it does remind me a lot of you. Now to just find some time to finish reading it....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Strange, but I never finished it either, though I was supposed to in high school. I kind of had a similar situation: life was complicated and moving quickly down a blind path for me. I think one really has to be able to slow down in order to read that book. Anyhow, for some reason, I always associated you with the Walden, though. Funny how a book's reputation can really live up to its substance, sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rox,
    .
    Yes, Thoreau reminds me of myself in many ways. He was also a respectable amateur naturalist.
    .
    -Zenwind.

    ReplyDelete
  4. .
    I’ll be seeing you,
    .
    You are right that one really needs some slow time to read Walden. And the book does live up to its reputation. Just knowing that Thoreau lived out there for a spell gives us an excellent idea of what to expect in the book, and this basic knowledge is the concept of the “Thoreau spirit” that always moved me. You read me right by associating me with him, as he was always one of my “saints.” And I’m still shocked at how much even closer I feel to him now.
    .
    -Zenwind.

    ReplyDelete