I went for a walk around Walden Pond with a friend today. I’m always amazed by how isolated it is. It is so close to Rte. 2 and all of the construction that is currently going on along it. But the only noise not by nature that I heard was from the train that runs by the pond. Seeing the site of Thoreau’s house always makes me think about the past. Thoreau’s Walden is one of my favorite books (actually along with most of Thoreau’s writings). Compared to when Thoreau lived there, it is not isolated at all. In fact there’s a building by the biggest beach, signs and fences everywhere. Along the walk, we’re constantly being told to stay on the path. Thoreau was able to wander as he pleased and explore every inch of the much larger forest that surrounded the pond. What he did was extraordinary even for his times, but I still feel like we can learn a lot from his ideas. Simplify. Live in harmony with nature. Buy and take only what you will use. I’m not saying that’s how I live or that we should all grow our own food. But I do think we should be more aware of where our food comes from and consider all of things that live in our basement and never see the light of day.
I fell in love with the natural world in the summers at the beach. Every year my family spent at least a week on Cape Cod while I was growing up. And I have gone back for at least a few days every single year of my life, mostly still with my family. I’m not sure I’ll ever think anything is as beautiful as the beaches of Wellfleet. The water may be cold but to me it’s not the ocean unless it numbs your feet after ten minutes. I’ve seen those beaches in bright, hot sun and in wind and rain. But they are always beautiful.
As I grew older and became more aware of humans’ devastating effects, I worry that all that amazing beauty is fading. I recently read in a book, Crazy Horse and Custer, about how when the English settlers first arrived in Ohio it was covered in beautiful forests. They spent years cutting down and burning all of those trees in the name of progress. I’d like to think that we (as in the human race) have learned better, but I fear that’s not the case.
I believe that when it comes to confronting a societal problem (and I do think that our disregard for the Earth has become rooted in our society) the first step is awareness. And maybe with awareness and knowledge that will go with it, enough of us will take the correct steps toward fixing this problem. I have decided I need to do my part.