Y’all, I have some bad news.
I wanted to take you into the woods at Walden Pond, the area made famous by Henry David Thoreau’s 1854 book Walden. There’s an amazing hiking trail that passes the spot where Thoreau (1817-1862) famously lived in a small cabin for two years, two weeks and two days as he wrote his book about living simply and revering nature.
But get this. The Walden Pond State Reservation … Doesn’t. Allow. Dogs. Hrumph!
So we did the second best thing. We visited the replica of his cabin near the parking lot of the reservation. Not quite the same, but I’m not gonna wind up in the dog pound just to get a picture for you guys, no matter how incredibly much I appreciate your interest in our jaunts.
Anyway, look at this cutie. Tiny, right? It was closed due to Covid, but we peeked in the window. A few chairs, a desk, a fireplace, a storage chest and a cot were nestled into the cabin, which had a wood stove toward the back.
The site of Thoreau’s actual cabin site in the woods was discovered in 1945 — almost 100 years after Thoreau left it — by archeologist Roland Robbins.
We recently visited Thoreau Farm, where this fine gent was born. But we mostly talked about the property and not him. So today, we’ll tell you why he was such a rock star.
Thoreau, a naturalist, essayist, philosopher and poet, was a super cool dude. In addition to Walden, he is also known for his 1849 essay, Civil Disobedience, where he argued that people should not sit by and tolerate injustices allowed the government.
A lifelong abolitionist (insert a thousand hearts here), Thoreau was repulsed by slavery and did not believe in American Imperialism, opposing in particular, the Mexican-American War.
“A government which deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it, will at length ever become the laughingstock of the world,” he wrote in his essay, “Slavery in Massachusetts.”
(You can see a gigantic library of his quotes, as well as a boatload of information at The Walden Woods Project. My mom spent hours on this site the other day. Too bad her new celebrity crush has been dead for 158 years.)
Anyway, here are five other excellent quotes from Thoreau:
- He loved walking, too. If we ever make merch for this website, we will use this quote: “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
- On keeping up with the Joneses: “But most men do not know what a house is, and the mass are actually poor all their days because they think they must have such an one as their neighbor’s.”
- Pursue your passions: “Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life, as a dog does his master’s chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so.”
- Beliefs aren’t one-size-fits-all: “I suppose that what in other men is religion is in me love of nature.”
- On my 8-year-old human sister, perhaps (and I mean this in the best possible way): “All good things are wild and free.”
Go be wild and free, my friends, like we did after finding out we couldn’t walk the trails here.