Category Archives: News and Events


The other day, after reaching Thoreau’s closing image in Walden – “The sun is but a morning star.” – we went to the pond. We left early, driving the two miles over quiet roads and arriving (with permission) at the closed park. One lone angler was on the east shore; we headed for the house site. Outside the book after six weeks in its room, we were headed back to where it began.

At the house site, we crowded into the little post-and-chain rectangle and read a few passages about the March morning in 1845 when Henry Thoreau began building his house. We looked up at the “tall arrowy pines” and in imagination felled a few; we “left the bark on.” Then, we admired the sprawling cairn nearby. Now, it was time for the water and the sun, and each of us went to a sitting place along the banks of the northwest shore. Everything was afire with sunlight, even the undersides of branches had caught the light of the “second sun,” the one that flashes up off the pond. Already the night cold was gone; the new day was afoot. The sun had brought it.

Morning at the pond

Morning at the pond

While my students entered their various solar reveries, I watched them from across Thoreau’s cove, and it wasn’t long before I entered a reverie of my own, this one about the power possible from the same sun that lights Walden. Are we not, clever species that we are, able enough to use that power directly instead of continuing with our habit of unearthing its stored remnants and burning them, thereby setting off a cascade of unnecessary change in our atmosphere?

That, in turn, made me think of Thoreau Farm’s solar challenge – to which we have given happily. The challenge seems especially apt, as I emerge from another reading of Walden, where it has been a gift to be brought over time again to this morning star, and then left there on the shores of a new day to choose my direction.

And, now that we have “fallen back” into Standard Time, it is a gift to awaken each morning to the low-angled, November sun as it streams through the leafless trees. Even at this northern latitude and in our shortened days, the sun has power.

That morning, we left the pond warmed; perhaps some of us were newly awake. The sun had worked its daily magic.

I hope you’ll consider helping us bring some of this magic to Thoreau Farm.

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Filed under Environment, General, Henry David Thoreau, News and Events, The Roost, Thoreau Quote, Walden

Now I am Ice; Now I am Sorrel – Amy Ragus at Thoreau Farm

Amy Ragus

Natural Encounters: On and off the trails at Fruitlands and Walden

As an extension to her current exhibition at Fruitlands Museum, Amy Ragus will be showing several photo-collages at Thoreau Farm from July 4 – July 22. Ragus’ photo-collages have been called “kaleidoscopic mosaics” that seek to capture particular moods, feelings and movements of the seasons. Having photographed the seasons at Walden for many years, Ragus includes images of Continue reading

Fruitlands in this exhibit. She writes:

The Fruitlands Community lasted from June 1843 to early January 1844. Thoreau’s approximate two years at Walden commenced in 1845. Both experiments had a setting in nature and answered to that setting. In my photographic responses, my intellectual and personal life makes “contact” with the natural surroundings. I have been shooting at Walden for over 20 years. I am informed by Henry David Thoreau’s writings and emphasis on the reciprocity between seasonal changes and the emotions.

Ragus quotes from Thoreau’s Journal:

Our thoughts and sentiments answer to the revolution of the seasons, as two cog-wheels fit into each other. We are conversant with only one point of contact at a time, from which we receive a prompting and impulse and instantly pass into a new season or point of contact. A year is made up of a certain series and number of sensations and thought which have their language in nature. Now I am ice, now I am sorrel. Each experience reduces itself to a mood of the mind. Journal, June,1857

At Thoreau Farm, we promote Thoreau’s ideal of “living deliberately” and believe Ragas has captured this spirit in her work.

Visit Thoreau Farm on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 to 4:00. Call or send an e-mail for additional hours. 978-451-0300

You can see the complete exhibit at the Fruitlands Museum from May 20 – August 14, 2012.

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Filed under Arts, News and Events

Thoreau Farm Receives 2012 Preservation Award

Representatives from Thoreau Farm and the Town of Concord were at the MA Historical Commission recently to receive a 2012 Preservation Award from Sec. of the Commonwealth William H. Galvin.

During the ceremony, Secretary Galvin stressed the importance of saving and preserving significant historic structures.

In his congratulatory letter to Thoreau Farm, Secretary Galvin wrote: Continue reading

The Massachusetts Historical Commission sincerely appreciates all efforts to preserve the Commonwealth’s valuable historic properties. The careful restoration and rehabilitation of the Wheeler-Minot House [Thoreau Farm], and its function as an educational resource, demonstrates a strong commitment to historic preservation that goes well beyond what is normally expected. On behalf of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, I applaud this outstanding contribution to historic preservation.

Thoreau Farm Trust is deeply honored by the 2012 Preservation Award and very proud of this achievement. We are grateful to everyone who played a role in the preservation of Thoreau Farm.

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Filed under Historic Preservation, News and Events