Henry David Thoreau: A Life

Who was Henry David Thoreau?

He has been labeled a naturalist, farmer, author, lecturer, recluse, tax protestor, philosopher. Moody, introverted. Passionately antislavery. Longtime friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

In Henry David Thoreau: A Life, Laura Dassow Walls goes beyond the labels and reveals a sometimes insecure man who struggled to find out who he was. Walls takes readers on a journey through Thoreau’s journals and other writings. His walks, inner debates, friendships, and two years at Walden Pond come to life in a way that will enthrall and surprise even the most learned Thoreau scholar.

The 500 pages passed quickly and left me yearning to reread Thoreau’s most famous book, Walden. My new copy of the classic just arrived and as I began reading, I felt a fresh appreciation for one of the world’s great thinkers. I will let you know how it goes, but I am in no rush. I want to savor the moments that his words bring.

Walden: Thoreau’s Classic Book About Life

As I read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Life in the Woods, I had a thought that could seem corny.

“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”

The 19th century philosopher/author told readers that the mundane details of everyday life can prevent us from seeing the big picture and, unless we take a step back, we can miss what is most important.

Thoreau stepped back by living alone in a tiny cabin on a pond in Massachusetts for two years. His thoughts about his experience fill the classic book.

His writing style may confuse you at times, but his nuggets of wisdom will make the effort worthwhile. You can read it cover to cover, or randomly open to a page, where you are likely to find thoughts about life and society worth pondering.

It may leave you searching for your own way to step back. (Click on the cover if you want to check it out on Amazon…the Kindle version is just 60 cents.)

The purpose of life is to be a nobody

Ladders is a favorite of mine, despite the ads. This piece included a reference to writer/philosopher Edmund Burke and kept me engrossed in thought.

Acknowledging unimportance liberates us from the grips of the self-centered voice in our head that’s chiefly responsible for many of life’s difficulties.
— Read on https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-purpose-of-life-is-to-be-a-nobody

When do you feel like a nobody in the way described in this article? I have found the peace of insignificance when I am trekking and writing.