My Love Affair with Henry David Thoreau

Reading has always been the foremost pleasure in my life. I do tend to read junk for relaxation, but only mystery junk. I like the Golden Age mysteries from the 1920s and 30s. I detest the blood and gore and guts in modern fiction, as I do in modern movies. There is so much I want to learn, I haven’t time to be disgusted.

In 1992, I read Walden. Well, blow me down! I LOVED WALDEN. I had a quilting friend that attended Groton in Concord, MA and she was forced to read it. She did not love Walden. No matter, I did.

I started looking for other work by him and I found his complete journals edited by Bradford Torrey. I didn’t buy them, although they were $25 a volume. There were 14 volumes, or something like that, and I couldn’t justify the expense. I have always regretted that.

Just a month ago, I found A Writer’s Journal with excerpts from the journals Henry kept. I am almost done reading it. There are so many passages in this book that illustrate his philosophy of life and most importantly, mine.

This stillness, solitude, wildness of nature is a kind of thoroughwort or boneset, to my intellect. This is what I go out to seek. It is as if I always met in those places some grand serene, immortal, infinitely encouraging, though invisible companion, and walked with him. There at last my nerves are steadied, my sense and my mind do their office. I am aware that most of my neighbors would think it a hardship to be compelled to linger here one hour, especially this bleak day, and yet I receive this sweet and ineffable compensation for it. It is the most agreeable thing I do.”

Where else can you read of meditation that is meditation in nature.? Meditation with life, meditation with the weak sunlight of winter, the bracing cold, the invisible companion? This book has illuminated my spirit. My husband and I have Walden on audio and have listened to this twice. We are almost finished with The Maine Woods, which is cool because we live in the Maine woods. I know whereof he speaks. I feel the spirit in these woods. Henry’s spirit and mine.

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