How I Missed the Anniversary…of Thoreau’s Death…Again

May 6th. You’d think it would be embossed in my mind – all these years of reading and teaching Thoreau, and yet, it slipped by again.

On the evening of this slippage, while I supervised an impatient study hall, I wondered to myself: why is that?

Here’s what I answered: it sounds simple, hokey, even, but for me, Henry Thoreau lives on. It would be a cliche to point to Walden and other works and say, “see, all around the world people read these words and then look up and change; all around the world people read and develop or renew their faith in I.” True…but trite to write.

And I’ve been reading through his spring journal of 1855, even as I live my spring of 2014. We have shared hawks and peepers and redwing blackbirds, woodland meanderings. All good, but…

Here then is a more personal truth: years of living with Henry Thoreau’s writing have given me new eyes. Every day when I walk out the door, I look up, I scan the peripheries of each world I step into – yesterday the robin nesting in the dwarf pine was facing east as she sat atop her two blue eggs; today, she’s facing south. The copper beech in the yard is kicking finally last year’s dun leaves from a hold that endured quite a winter. The parking lot maple prepares a riot of seeds…so much faith.

It all begins…again.

1 Comment

Filed under General, Living Deliberately, Nature, The Roost

One Response to How I Missed the Anniversary…of Thoreau’s Death…Again

  1. Dennis Noson

    Thanks, again, Sandy for your thoughts on Thoreau. I have a mnemonic that works for me to remember the anniversary of his death: my father’s birthday is the day before.
    May 5th was not always the day he celebrated it (he is no longer alive, passing from this earth in 1986.) Back in 1940, from the mines of northern Minnesota, my father joined the Navy and used his brother’s birth document to enlist at age 17 — and always followed the ruse by claiming May 30th was his birthday. Back then, one & half years after joining, on Dec. 7th 1941, in his dream job on board the USS Battleship Maryland, he witnessed that world changing event.
    So in my mind, I have Thoreau at his Concord pond, my father at his Hawaiian harbor, and the place for me to muse on these special days, and the passing seasons, is here above the steel-gray waters of Puget Sound.
    Regards, Dennis