Received a gift today. And sure didn't expect it. Bonnie stopped by on her way home from work. No exactly on her way as we're an added ten miles of traffic laden road. Maybe the tree I'd promised her had something to do with it but forty years of close friendship would be closer to the truth. Her gifts for us were on the money.
I'd last read Walden as a requirement for an English class back in my out-of -the-Army-and-now-a-pissed-off-protest-cat-in-college-pursuing-a-degree-that-had-no-economic-future days. Of course I enjoyed the book. Fit like a glove. Read it a couple of times then put it on the shelf. Since then it'd disappeared. Probably donated.
I was twenty-four at the time of reading. Thoreau was a sage, older dude who had much to say to someone such as me (coulda called me an I but me sounds better). It did strike me he was a little pissed off and skeptical of his neighbors. Kind of an I'm smarter than you attitude. That appealed to me back then.
But I'm now on the edge of my sixty-sixth birthday and am way older than Henry David was when he sat on his door stoop beside the pond. Old enough to say to him, "Don't go running around half cocked young man. Don't be so quick to judge. That farmer with the farm on his back may not find it a burden at all."
I may be pre-judging the man in an after the fact way here. Guess I'm gonna have to read the story again. No doubt I'll still find a lot of truth in the book. After all, I do love heading into the woods all by myself. Warming myself on those chilly Minnesota nights with wood I've taken from tree to wood stove. Simple is indeed better. But I've cheated. Bought my present simple with forty years of work. Can't say that if I had it to do over I'd do it any other way.
Months have passed. The book was opened. A few pages read. Couldn't handle it. Don't know if' the century and three-quarters between us, our age, or his advice just doesn't mean a thing to me anymore. When you're young, you're looking for heaven on earth and searching for it somewhere out there. A half dozen decades under your belt makes you realize you've had it all along. Sounds good, eh?