When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
My purpose in going to Walden Pond was not to live cheaply nor to live dearly there, but to transact some private business with the fewest obstacles; to be hindered from accomplishing which for want of a little common sense, a little enterprise and business talent, appeared not so sad as foolish.
"I am on the alert for the first signs of spring, to hear the chance note of some arriving bird, or the striped squirrel's chirp, for his stores must be now nearly exhausted, or see the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters." So Henry Thoreau wrote about spring at Walden Pond
Eight years later, at Walden Pond
, he would conduct an experiment in deliberate living-what his most recent biographer, Laura Dassow Walls, calls "a sacred commitment to confront ...
I dreamed of not only having a room of my own, but also a house in Walden Pond
While Walden Pond
is a dimple in glacial deposits, Lake Baikal is a trench-like rift lake similar to Lake Tanganyika.
My classmates at Brandeis would routinely set out on foot to Walden Pond
with dog-eared copies of Thoreau under their arms.
Thoreau himself lived for two years in a cabin in Walden Pond
amidst woodland owned by his writer friend Ralph Waldo Emerson.
His cabin was in sight of the main road that cut past Walden Pond
. Trains on their way to Boston rattled past the lake.
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is a designated National Historic Landmark on 335 acres of protected land, where a variety of trails lead to the site of Thoreau's cabin, marked by a set of stone pillars.
From Walden Pond
, where transcendentalist yearning still moves acolytes through the woods, to the site of the Temple of Artemis, where the goddess no longer lives: Erickson's travels encompass locales both familiar and idealized, finding meaning between spaces that are quiet and grand.