Personal Days: Walden Pond

This last weekend I found myself in the Boston area. And like I do whenever I can, I stopped by Walden Pond in Concord to take a walk.

I only had an hour but Walden Pond isn't very big.

I kicked off my sandals and walked barefoot. Sometimes walking on the water's edge, but mostly walking along the pine needle strewn path around the pond.

I lingered at the Thoreau cabin site. Sat on a rock to read a few pages of Walden. Dipped my feet in the water.

Why do I visit Walden Pond? Outside of Jesus, the biggest influence upon my personality is Henry David Thoreau. I've read Walden more than any other book outside of the Bible.

I read Walden in college, and its call to non-conformity ("If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."), simplicity ("I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.") and intentionality ("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.") had a profound, decisive and lasting impact upon me.

Before reading Walden I used to care about what people thought. After Walden, I stopped.

Today I'm known to colleagues and friends as a bit of a non-conformist. And I don't own a suit or pants other than jeans. I live each day with great deliberation, preferring to walk barefoot in the rain than send the next email in the office.

That is why I visit Walden Pond.

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