Sometimes I get angry and feel contempt for Henry David Thoreau. It’s a long story really, and most definitely a certifiable neurosis of sorts for me personally. But it’s true. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about and mulling over it, particularly over the last couple of years.
As my life has changed my thoughts about Henry have changed along with it. He’s been an influence on me for years and years and often I’ve thought of him as a kindred spirit, like-minded, and cut from the same cloth. He’s actually shaped me a great deal into who I am today: how I think and what I believe. I probably would’ve liked him a lot personally too as he was always deliberately busy, and would talk with anyone specifically about it, in a very direct and relatively good natured way. And he didn’t have much interest or concern in anyone’s reaction either. I can definitely relate to all that. Henry was always eager to learn new things, and thinking about the value and worth and meaning of it all. I’ve always thought of him as the brilliant older brother I’ve never had who knows all the answers. Or whose opinion I’d really value.
So yeh I generally have some pretty strong feelings about him.
But I’ve been a bit mad at him lately. I think it’s because I think of him at that damn pond, doing all the things I wish I was doing. In a lot of ways I’m spending the great majority of my time lately doing exactly what he did back then. That’s uncanny. But I’m doing it in a much more modern, ridiculous and precarious way.
Where’s my Walden?
It doesn’t matter I’m pissed. I mean to you or anyone else. Even Henry. But he’s too much a part of my very fabric to ever be mad at him for too long. So I’ll have to just get over it and appreciate the fact that I do have the time right now for some self-discovery and reflection. And not be mad that Ralph Waldo Emerson was nice enough to lend him that land for awhile, and to encourage him to grow and write and to just be.
Emerson I’ll save for another time.