Thursday, July 12th: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HENRY DAVID THOREAU, a man of many talents. Author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian and transcendentalist; he wore many hats during his short life of 44 years.
Thoreau is probably best known for his book Walden, or Life in the Woods, recounting the two years, two months, and two days he had spent at Walden Pond. Walden is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. (Opening quote is from Walden, in the chapter “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”.)
After leaving Walden Pond, Thoreau worked to pay off his debts and revised his manuscript for Walden. Wikipedia states, “The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of four seasons to symbolize human development. Part memoir and part spiritual quest, Walden at first won few admirers, but later critics have regarded it as a classic American work that explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.”
Thoreau died on May 6, 1862 at the young age of 44. He packed a lot of life and living into his forty-four years. A hundred and fifty years after his death, his words and wisdom remain true and are shared and repeated often.
Celebrate the day, read Walden and see if there’s a portion that can be applied to your life. Is there any part of your life where you could simplify? Are there any tasks or chores that can be removed from your life? Are there any commitments that take your time but don’t fulfill a need in your life anymore? Is there any “stuff” taking up room in your life that could be passed along to a loving home, simplifying your life and possessions?