Walden Pond is the most famous pond in the world, and rightly so. Thoreau's two-year stay here in 1845-1847 led him to write Walden; or Life in the Woods, one of the classics of American literature. And Walden today is every bit as lovely as it was more than a century-and-a-half ago, perhaps even more beautiful because back then wood-choppers were at work leveling the pond-side forests Thoreau so loved.
When I walked down the hill to Walden Pond this morning, the sun had just risen, a lovely orb shining through the mist over the hills at the far side of the water. Or so I thought. But as I gained a better view of the "sun," it occurred to me that it looked a lot like the moon. It was early, and my faculties were still adjusting to yesterday's flight from the West Coast, but it soon occurred to me that this "sun" was rising from the west, not the east. Ergo, my sunrise was actually a moonset. It also dawned on me, so to speak, that the moon was setting a lot faster than the sun had dropped the night before. More cogitation.... Oh, the moon, unlike the sun, moves around the earth, and so as our planet was rotating to the east, the moon was circling around to the west. Ergo again, I did not have much time to get my camera shot. This is how the pond looked at moonset, with mist raising over the water. In the next few moments the moon would be gone.
Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. I got up early and bathed in the pond; that was a religious exercise, and one of the best things which I did. They say that characters were engraven on the bathing tub of King Tching Thang to this effect: "Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again." ,,, The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. Then there is least somnolence in us; and for an hour, at least, some part of us awakes which slumbers all the rest of the day and night. Little is to be expected of that day, if it can be called a day, to which we are not awakened by our Genius, but by the mechanical nudgings of some servitor, are not awakened by our own newly acquired force and aspirations from within, accompanied by the undulations of celestial music, instead of factory bells, and a fragrance filling the air — to a higher life than we fell asleep from; and thus the darkness bear its fruit, and prove itself to be good, no less than the light.
-- Walden Morning
As evidence of just how cold Walden can become in the winter here are two videos I posted on YouTube a another season:
-- Walden Winter Swimmer: Erec Sanders
-- Snow Falling at Walden Pond
If you enjoyed this post on Walden Pond swimmers, then and now, you want to read this post on Herman Melville and the Seattle Waterfront:
-- "Ocean Reveries" in Herman Melville's Manhattan and Today's Seattle