Monday, September 17, 2007
Lines to Remember 18 (The Simple Life)
"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"Henry David Thoreau from Walden (1854)
We, in our ways, attempt to decipher the meaning of life, not as a general philosophical truth, but as something that is personal and deeply rooted in our own spirituality. Each man’s Holy Grail is unique to himself. It is not like a herd activity that draws conviction through affirmation by others.
Thoreau found it in Walden Pond where he chatted with the woodchucks, greeted the jays good day, skimmed flat stones in the tremulous surface of the algae greened water. How fortunate for him to have chosen such a milieu for his quest of the meaning of life. How readily nature answered what seemed, at first, to be esoteric questions, how nature even supplied the questions with answers so plainly apparent each time he rose from bed at winter’s dawn.
He described the watery retreat as the one that “…had obtained a patent of heaven to be the only Walden Pond in the world and distiller of celestial dews.” On its banks bulrushes grew amidst white pebbles and on a further stretch white lilies marked the water’s edge. On days when the pond waters are clear one could espy breams, perches, pickerels and trout of variegated hues along with tortoise, turtles and other reptilian creatures timorously crawling on the ground. They shared the pond’s bounty together with the shimmering haze of insects and the chattering congregation of birds.
In the sweet solitude and comforting serenity of the pond Thoreau pondered the bare essentials of living and had been taught through joyful discoveries and figuring them out by the irrefutable but pleasant logic of nature.