Sunday, 8 June 2014

Following in the footsteps of giants!

The 8th June was a much anticipated date, we were going to Lincoln, just a few miles outside of Boston. This is one of Barbara's favourite haunts & I was going to visit Walden Pond.
 Beautiful countryside. Farming here has a strong
 conservation & organic ethic behind it.
Barbara penned a poem about this view. I think it is rather good & reflects the vista rather accurately.
Humid heat lingers still and heavy in the mid-day sun.
Crickets chirp,
cicadas buzz.
Thunderheads form in the grey haze distant.

 Land around Lincoln is also still well forested.
There a miles of woodland/conservation trails
to explore.
 Me thinks, I need to loose a few pounds!
 Walden Pond today is far removed
 from Thoreau's days!
It is a State Park, which means multi-use 
& we were there on a hot Sunday afternoon!

In 1854 Henry David Thoreau published a book (Life in the Woods) which described his experiences of living in a simple cabin (which he built here) for two years. Basically, the book was a voyage of self & spiritual discovery, but it became influential in the conservation movements which were to follow. This site was high on my agenda, as it was like a spiritual homecoming for me.


The full quotation is below.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
Henry David Thoreau.

Thoreau  certainly split opinion at the time & even up to the present day. Some of his notions were rather contradictory but one thing he did do (& did rather well), was to set people thinking about the environment & man's influence & effect on the environment. In my opinion, that was his greatest achievement. Remember, in his time, pioneers were rolling so-called civilisation, across the whole of what would become the United States of America. It was a time of man mastering the environment, not living in harmony with it. I first read this book when I was 19 years old. It is a very difficult book to read & sometimes even understand. But, it left a mark on me, that I have still have to this day. It has been with me all my life & I still cannot read the above quotation without both a tingle down my spine & a tear coming to my eye. It felt like I was coming home.
In truth, I was a little disappointed with the actual site. The cabin was no longer there, I really wanted to see that cabin! Also, the place was overrun with people. However, the area around Lincoln is wonderful. One could spend weeks here, exploring the trails & making discoveries along the way. Barbara & I had a wonderful day just sauntering around. Not doing very much at all, apart from appreciating being there. This entire area is populated by an educated elite & in the way they have decided to use the land & in part preserve/conserve it, really shows.
 Barbara in the Sculpture Park.
 Queen of the rock?
Revisiting childhood memories!
I wasn't really birding, but did manage to get good views of two Wood Thrushes.  I also managed to see two species of Catbird!
 Grey Catbird.
New England Catbird!
(Chrenko barbarensis idioticus)
No never! It must be splendidus!
We left the area & enjoyed a delightful evening meal at an Italian restaurant in Belmont. And that was the end of this particular little trip to the US, as I left, & flew to Abu Dhabi early the next morning. 

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