Walden Pond, on a clear spring morning,
with a drizzle of rain and slowly shifting fog, creates an atmosphere of
unending beauty and serenity. I’m sure Thoreau would have appreciated it,
as I’m sure he lived for such days of quiet and stillness.
I can see why he picked this place. I’m a
metropolitan person, heart and soul, though the Romantic in me will always
be stricken by the beauty of unspoiled nature. Watching the fog simmer
over the calm surface of the pond, it is hard to imagine anyone being able
to resist such a scene. Just being at this location, seeing the warmth and
intellectual solitude Thoreau created for himself with his cabin, I almost
wanted to abandon it all and build a similar life. Moreso than reading
Walden, seeing the lake made me clearly understand what a draw this
must have been.
I resisted this urge and eventually
returned to civilization, but for a few blissful hours I was strongly
tempted. I challenge anyone who looked at that pond on that early morning
to say that they did not have the same reaction. It’s a universal,
inexplicable, incredibly powerful lure. Nature will always make us a
little speechless in its splendor.
I can see what Thoreau meant, not only
about living deliberately but about sucking all the marrow out of life,
about getting everything one possibly can out of the experience of living.
Even after leaving the pond I am filled with a sense of fulfillment, as
though I have been recharged and it is now my duty to live as he did, in
spirit at least, and take everything life has to offer, to grasp at it
with both hands. Seeing the physical Walden Pond made the intellectual
idea of Walden come alive for me and, even if I don’t go out into the
woods to live, I can understand the attraction in it. I will try and live
by his example and create my own Walden Pond—a place of unending beauty.
It is interesting how a simple meteorological change, an
electric charge, can be felt all over the Earth and create a whole new
world—albeit, one that will die in about an hour. Everything seems to be
more alive when the rain hits it—the colors are deeper, closer to what I
imagine is their true hue, the air is crisp and fresh and cool and
addictive. I have spent the day dealing with the comings of a cold, very
tired, and the light rain breeze against my skin has been such a blessing.
I have always loved thunderstorms. There is nothing more
Romantic than the world when seen through a thunderstorm. It is a natural
theater, with everything heightened and sharpened and given a cool gothic
beauty. To me, nothing will smell sweeter than a thunderstorm. No perfume
in the world could ever come close to matching its dramatic flair.
The bird’s sound is a perfect background for such a scene,
as they harken the returning of the sun to this wonderful cool Earth.
Sometimes I wish it could remain this beautiful forever, but then I
remember that there is beauty to be found in all situations, it simply
requires a keen eye. And if it were to remain like this forever, it would
lose some of its charm. It would not have the same cleansing effect. It
would not be so dramatic.
It is because it comes upon us so suddenly that we marvel
at it and become lost in it. If it were an everyday occurrence, it would
lose that air of natural elegance that imbues it. It is, literally and
figuratively, an energy jolt. It is a spectacular show for all the senses.
There is just something about it that can never be properly
copied, not in words or paints or film or memory. It is meant to be
experienced at the moment when it is at its most energetic peak. It must
be felt—felt with abandon, for one must ignore the petty concerns of life
and take it all in, for all it’s worth. It is a fleeting expression of
something greater than us that only those of us who were in the thick of
it could truly appreciate.
It is a moment that rewards us for paying attention to
nature, for allowing ourselves to get lost in it. It is a beauty made all
the more lovely by the knowledge that only a select few will ever be able
to taste it. But if others do not see, it is no matter—for the world is
new and my spirit could not be higher.
The rooms are cool
and heavy with the ghostly
perfumes of long-dead afternoons.
Fading purple light
stretches out toward you
from the side, and falls
on an uneven floor.
Intoxicating charm draws
breath, fast and tense, faintly
trembling with a touch of delight,
Anti-climax sounds with the
shuffle of scuffed leather.