Monday, September 6, 2010

On this Day...

September the 6th, 1847; Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond and moves in with Ralph Emerson and his family at Concord. There are people who are not fascinated by numbers and I ought to respect their relative nonchalance in upholding logic and reason, but probably for the sake of posterity alone, I shall talk about the book he published much later. In Walden, or Life in the Woods, Thoreau recounts his experience of two years, two months and two days of time spent on the site he must have beheld in a state of freedom. He writes:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms."
— Henry David Thoreau (Walden: Or, Life in the Woods) 
       There is no particular reason to mark the numbers when a great author wrote books or when he published them, but to remember the person himself; what he thought, felt and expressed. How can we, the readers or listeners of words, not heed when the master says,

   "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."
   — Henry David Thoreau (Walden and Other Writings) 
If numbers lead us to remember or not forget somebody who did something or said, I believe they only help to "simplify". The paradox, which knocks the door of those who are capable of hearing the knock, is that to simplify is often not as simple for us.

Had it been that simple to "simplify", Thoreau would've stayed where he was able to stay put and feel contented to speak his mind. Of course, I can only imagine that which my little mind leads me to, but I see the leaving of Walden Pond by Thoreau as an integral part of his essential nature which also once expressed:

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
   For reasons as 'simple' as these probably my mind justifies me to say: On this day...

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