As you can see I didn’t do an exceptional amount of commuting last week, and Walden remained the Bus Book for this week as well.
As I’ve progressed through it I’ve come to the conclusion that whilst I admire his ideas, I don’t think Thoreau would necessarily be a fun guy to spend an evening in the pub with. I get the feeling from what he says that he was something of an aesthete. I wonder if the ‘hair shirt’ attitude of some of today’s ‘extreme greens’ partially originated from here. Sort of along the lines of if you’re enjoying it it can’t be truly environmentally friendly.
His description of the pond in winter is masterful, with a keen observational eye which brought the whole place to life in my mind’s eye.
I took a look at the Pond as it is today via the website here and also checked out a map from Google, below. The map is movable – just hold the left mouse button down and move the mouse around.
View Larger Map
Even back then he was within a couple of miles of town – I suppose the invention of the car and the widespread use of bikes, etc. would today mean you had to be maybe 10-15 miles outside of the nearest village to get the same degree of isolation.
One final observation – in the ‘Spring’ section there is a amsterful description of the patterns made by sand in thaw-water flows, as well as the similarities between natural shapes – leaves, snowflakes, etc. Given my interest in fractal mathematics it was hard to ignore the fact that had he been a mathematician Thoreau may had discovered fractals 100 years early!
Anyway…good book, worth a read…just don’t expect to find an easy read!