Henry David Thoreau has always been one of my heroes. He built a small cabin adjacent to Walden Pond near Concord, Mass. He lived there by himself, several miles from civilization, and communicated with nature for a couple of years. He lived very simply with just the very basics for life support. He walked through the woods, and rowed on the waters of Walden Pond, as he observed nature and wrote about it in what was to be one of the greatest books in American Literature, Walden. He was a friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the other intellectuals in Concord. Thoreau died when he was only 44 years old. As he was dying, someone ask if he had made peace with God and he said, “I didn’t know we had argued.”
Thoreau’s main message was to simplify your life. He would not be proud of me. We are in the process of moving and are trying to throw away tons of useless, unessential garbage we have accumulated in over 50 years of marriage. The audio visual stuff including; reel to reel tapes, tapes cassettes, 8 tracks, vinyl 45 and 33 1/3 records, VHS, CDs and DVDs is enough to make Thoreau throw up. Most of my electronic equipment, including a box of old cell phones, belongs in the Smithsonian. We have a dish antenna on the roof beaming a picture to four television sets with news about who killed who in Waco and Killeen. I’m addicted to the computer with things like e-mail and facebook. I am literally saturated with unessential information and have crowded out space for treasures like Walden.
As we prepare to move into our new home there is a part of me that longs to be a Thoreau, and be content with moving into a simple one room house with a bed, a writing table and a fireplace. At one time I had a cabin, almost like Thoreau’s, located in the piney woods of East Texas. The house did have indoor plumbing and running water, but it was as divine a place as I have seen on the planet. It was like a porch that was a permanent dwelling place. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Enough daydreaming. It’s back to packing. I have a book collection that is large enough to start a small Library of Congress. There are some paperbacks that are so ancient the pages are brittle and yellow, but throwing them away would be like shooting an old friend. Even Thoreau wouldn’t want me to throw them away.