Several recent post began with this Thoreau quote because they were the words Katie Ladany lived by, and in my opinion would be worthwhile for us all to consider. As I go about my daily writing routine I want to share with you a reading about Henry David Thoreau I came across this morning in Writer’s Almanac.
It was this day in 1854, August 9th, that his classic work, Walden, was published. Walden described the two years in Thoreau’s life during which he lived in a cabin by Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, on land that belonged to his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. In the spring of 1845, Thoreau borrowed an ax and began clearing the land to build the 10 feet by 15 feet cabin in which he lived.
While at Walden Pond, Thoreau tended a garden, went for walks in the woods, sat and observed nature, and did a lot of writing. By the time he left Walden in 1847, he compiled his journal entries into a rough draft of the book that would eventually become Walden. There are many lessons in Thoreau’s writings, including:
“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one.”
Thoreau seems to be saying that he was done his work at that juncture of his life and it was time to move on. There is a time in life for everything, but not to get stuck, to spread your wings, share what you’ve learned, share yourself. Recognize when it is time to move on and go.
Another lesson from Walden is: “What old people say you cannot do, you try to find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new.”
Thoreau must have known I would turn sixty this summer, and now that I went back and read his words, it’s time to sign up for the first ultra-marathon before the year is out.
To read the entire story about Thoreau and his time at Walden Pone that appeared in today’s edition of Writer’s Almanac, click here.
The fitting way to end this post is the way it began, with words we should all consider living by:
“Go confidently in the direction of our dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”