Sunday, June 7, 2009

"I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least--and it is commonly more than that--sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements." Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau; the preeminent granola-munching, wood-wandering hippie. A man who, from his early days, chose to live a countercultural lifestye. The collect frightened him and the woods, though not readily welcoming him, did not explicitly reject his presence. So Thoreau found peace, alone in the woods. Recently, Thoreau's social detachment and natural engagement has become increasingly more attractive to me. Always shy, socially awkward and reclusive, my life often feels like a daily struggle, fighting to break into impersonal social networks, all the while questioning why so much energy is concentrated (and wasted) on something I am wanting less and less to a part of. Like Thoreau, I have always found my mind clearest and heart lightest in the woods, with the occasional visit of a good friend, worrying not about the things of this world, but instead living free on the bounties of nature. Energy restored. Someday, maybe someday Walden 2.0 will happen. Maybe not. For now, walking must suffice. Thus, Walking will be my Thoreau essay of choice for the time being. Walden will be waiting for the day when I go to woods to live deliberately.

1 comment:

Deane Christianson said...

I so identify with the shy, socially awkward and reclusive feelings you have... That was me up to 15 years ago (although I still fight these feelings off and on). But you know what... it's worth fighting those feelings because ultimately, people - family, friends and co-workers are so vitally important. I wanted to run and hide (maybe not in the woods, but anywhere away from people), but I found that wasn't the answer. It only helps to lower my self-confidence. Ultimately, I found that it is worth the energy (and sometimes difficulties). But there are "Waldens" out there (retreats, hikes, mountains, lakes, country homes - like Chapeau Heights) that bring peace and escape from the world. And remember, Walden 2.0 is already taken by Paul Goodnature and his cabin!