Babsje on Thoreau

Silverbelle Babsje publishes a great blog focusing on herons and other graceful birds. Here’s a recent example:

She’s also a keen observer of the Silverback Digest. Our recent post on Henry David Thoreau prompted her to share her own thoughts on the man:

Walden Pond is a grounded space, a grounding place that I like to revisit around the start of each new year, and my intention one New Year’s Eve was a solitary sojourn. It was sublime that day, wandering the pond’s shoreline in solitude.

And did Henry David Thoreau ever conjure up a snowman to keep him company at Walden Pond when in a whimsical mood one day?

I was alone there save for Henry David Thoreau standing next to his small cabin. Someone earlier had placed a carved piece of snow in his hand, and it was amusing to see Thoreau staring at it intently, as if contemplating snow. It was a perfect, light-hearted grace note.

Perhaps, perhaps not, but someone else did, snowpilgrim at Walden Pond in the waning light. This one sat perfectly still for hours while I wandered around. I believe she was meditating.

She had melted a little from the traditional configuration. Or maybe I’m mistaken and it never was stacked with three large balls of snow like a classical snowman at all. After all, Thoreau wasn’t much of a traditionalist. So perhaps it always was in this pose, gazing out over the waters, thinking mysterious things?

The setting sun cast wintry golden light through the trees on the far shore, reflecting the sky and horizon on the softly frozen water. I had Walden Pond all to myself then – except for that sculpted snowperson watching over the shore and Henry David Thoreau contemplating snow.
What about the Great Blue Herons you usually see in my blog? Where would Thoreau stand on Herons? I’ll let Ralph Waldo Emerson respond:

“… Our naturalist had perfect magnanimity; he had no secrets; he would carry you to the heron’s haunt, or even to his most prized botanical swamp, — possibly knowing that you could never find it again, yet willing to take his risks.”

Excerpted from
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Eulogy of Henry David Thoreau, May 9, 1862, Atlantic Monthly, 1862

2 thoughts on “Babsje on Thoreau

  1. I appreciated your own recent Thoreau post and photos. I have never visited Walden Pond in the high summer season when it takes on the character of any random Massachusetts beach managed by the Division of Conservation and Recreation – DCR. I’m sure that had my experience there be as boisterous as the crowded scene, the sense as a “grounded” space would have been shattered. I plan on keeping it that way.

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