“The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore,” wrote Henry David Thoreau, who lived two years, two months, and two days by its shore in a 14’4” x 10’4” x 14’ (peak) wooden cabin that he built himself.
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A replica of the cabin stands there now, and aside from the common comforts of tourist sites, from rest rooms to a gift shop, Walden Pond today looks much as one might imagine it did while Thoreau was living there, learning “that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Even at the peak of Autumn, golden foliage is spotty, with much green remaining. And (unlike in summer) visitors are sparse. Few families stroll along the shore. Even fewer hardy souls kayak or swim. It is a peaceful setting, and a pleasant respite from the world of tyrants and tit-men whom Thoreau and all lovers of the individual contemn in any place and time.
But sadly, two hours, two minutes, and two seconds is probably all that most of us today would be able to spend before finding we “could not spare any more time”.