Walden: Or Life in the Woods
By Henry David Thoreau
BR 12576, 3 volumes
To read Walden is to step outside the mundane, to explore the wonders of Nature, to discover afresh the timeless delights and challenges of being human.
Penned nearly two hundred years ago, Thoreau’s account of living at Walden Pond is a vividly delicious feast for the spirit and senses alike. Everything is described in rich detail: the cost and materials for building his cabin, the varieties of trees and wildlife he encounters, his feelings and opinions concerning the functions of government, the need for the railroad, for education, and so much more.
But if Thoreaus descriptions stray into tedium at times or seem to be a bit self-involved, they will just as suddenly sweep you off your feet and carry you away with surprise and wonder. The antics of a loon, for example, flying overhead and diving into the pond’s depths, passing under and beyond his little boat ; his careful, awe-filled study of bubbles forming amid the ponds ice in winter; and the child’s eye he brings to a battle between black and red ants, all keep the pages turning. The author’s deep appreciation of Nature is apparent in every line, and his invitation to join him in experiencing Walden’s woodland sanctuary feels like a veritable call to prayer.
Throughout his discussions, Thoreau shares his vast knowledge with humility and sensitivity. He calls elements of the natural world by their actual names, cites classic and scientific sources, relates Eastern and Native American spiritual traditions, and interweaves objective fact with local hearsay.
Poetic, humorous, and deep, Walden transports readers back to simplicity, and urges us to wrestle big ideas. Most importantly,by relating his experiences at Walden pond, Thoreau shines a light into every person’s soul and proclaims:Wake up friend, and live!