Staring Into The Same Stars As Thoreau Did Filled Me With Awe


Walden Pond
June, ‘77

The sun had already set when we walked our bikes along the pond. We
stretched our sleeping bags out under a stand of pine trees that
covered a hill overlooking the pond. We were off the main path, but
still had a good view of the water. Actually, we were half way up a
large hill overlooking the whole area. The highway was on the other
side of the pond from where we rolled out our sleeping bags– out of
sight and over the hill. It was peaceful. We decided against the
tents because we were lying on a pretty steep incline.

It had been cloudy all day, but the sky cleared just as we arrived at
Walden. Lying on our sleeping bags, we hoped it would stay that way.
We stayed awake into the evening, and when our conversation drifted
into silence, under the scattering of stars that could barely be seen
through the black outline of the scented pine trees above, I could
feel myself getting emotional. Thoreau’s book, Walden, had been an
inspirational book for me. The book made me feel good about my life.
Looking up into the same stars that Thoreau must have stared into
filled me with an intense feeling of goodness.

Thoreau, a role model for me, took a critical look at what it
meant to be successful—success being measured by wealth,
material goods, and status—and found it wanting. He then went to his
cabin and bean field to live a life of simplicity. By rejecting the
conventional notions of success, Thoreau legitimated universal
life-affirming values while keeping the ideal of individualism fully
intact and alive. He strove for economic self-sufficiency, and a
“higher truth.” By immersing himself in the wellsprings of nature, he
put himself in direct contact with the regenerative power of nature,
and in turn, was filled with a sense of the renewal that made possible
the development of a higher and richer knowledge. After a year at
Walden Pond, Thoreau discovered a “new sense of himself and the
world,” and, in the process, he left behind a kind of diary–Walden.
In fact, I remember how envious I became when I read how he learned to
cherish the “present condition of things” in the same way that two
lovers might cherish their embrace of each other. I should be so lucky!

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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5 Responses to Staring Into The Same Stars As Thoreau Did Filled Me With Awe

  1. starbear says:

    Thank you!… for Thoreau reminder. We still share those same stars!

  2. aawwa says:

    That was a really lovely post! I really loved this bit “By immersing himself in the wellsprings of nature, he put himself in direct contact with the regenerative power of nature,and in turn, was filled with a sense of the renewal that made possible the development of a higher and richer knowledge. thanks

    Lorraine

  3. eof737 says:

    But you are already lucky! 😉

  4. bwinwnbwi says:

    Thanks for all the nice comments!

  5. hugmamma says:

    I will have to reread Thoreau again…somehow I missed a lot the first time. I’ll blame it on youth…and the desire to be elsewhere than in a classroom…or doing homework instead of being outdoors…enjoying nature with friends.

    hugs for reminding me how timeless…is thoreau… 😉

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