In 1845 Henry David Thoreau left his home town of Concord, Massachusetts to begin a new life alone, in a rough hut he built himself a mile and a half away on the north-west shore of Walden Pond. Walden is Thoreau’s classic autobiographical account of this experiment in solitary living, his refusal to play by the rules of hard work and the accumulation of wealth and above all the freedom it gave him to adapt his living to the natural world around him.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
When we consider what, to use the words of the catechism, is the chief end of man, and what are the true necessaries and means of life, it appears as if men had deliberately chosen the common mode of living because they preferred it to any other. Yet they honestly think there is no choice left. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear. It is never too late to give up our prejudices. No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof. What every body echoes or in silence passes by as true to-day may turn out to be falsehood to-morrow, mere smoke of opinion, which some had trusted for a cloud that would sprinkle fertilizing rain on their fields. What old people say you cannot do you try and find that you can. Old deeds for old people, and new deeds for new. Old people did not know enough once, perchance, to fetch fresh fuel to keep the fire a-going; new people put a little dry wood under a pot, and are whirled round the globe with the speed of birds, in a way to kill old people, as the phrase is. Age is no better, hardly so well, qualified for an instructor as youth, for it has not profited so much as it has lost. One may almost doubt if the wisest man has learned any thing of absolute value by living. Practically, the old have no very important advice to give the young, their own experience has been so partial, and their lives have been such miserable failures, for private reasons, as they must believe; and it may be that they have some faith left which belies that experience, and they are only less young than they were. I have lived some thirty years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors. They have told me nothing, and probably cannot tell me any thing, to the purpose. Here is life, an experiment to a great extent untried by me; but it does not avail me that they have tried it. If I have any experience which I think valuable, I am sure to reflect that this my Mentors said nothing about.
Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Stephen Fender, Professor of American Studies and Director of the Postgraduate Centre in the Humanities, University of Sussex, this new edition of Walden considers the author in the context of his birthplace and his sense of its history: social, economic and natural. In addition, an ecological appendix provides modern identifications of the myriad plants and animals to which Thoreau gave increasingly close attention as he became acclimatized to his life in the woods by Walden Pond.
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Something I am working on that I wanted to share.
A quick sketch of a little girl being rather vocal about some turtles she's spotted for this week's Illustration Friday:My husband can attest that I react similarly whenever I spot wild animals on our frequent hikes. I guess some of us never grow up...
The Koi Pond Pg 8 & 9Ink & water color illustration by Diana Ting Delosh © 2007 Harcourt Achieve
A boy plays with his koi on a lovely spring day. This illustration was 1 of 4 illustrations for, The Koi Pond, a story in a science reader series for Harcourt Achieve.
Revisions are like dying your hair a new color only to discover you have to now change your entire wardrobe.
I have been making changes to this illustration for a couple of days now...hours and hours of decision making. It will all be worth it in the end, but right now it is a question of color, balance, how much , how little...you all know the drill.
Here are some snaps of the saga...maybe if I just add more kids I can use all the different outfits ~
Dog gone that dog, that dog pond dog. Wondered off again on an adventure to see.
Dog goned dog pond dog , he didn’t take me !
Off he went on an adventure to roam, left me sitting here all alone at home.
I suppose it’s my own darn fault, his tail was wagging, while my lower lip was dragging.
I could have gone, he asked me to.
I fussed about having to put on a shoe.
Dog gone that dog pond dog, out on a run, but if I hurry I might still have some fun!
In Egyptian art, many royal representatives were depicted holding sacred lotuses, members of the water lily family, and the gods were also associated with water lilies. In Buddhism, the lotus is an important symbol of enlightenment because it illustrates beauty rising through mud and water to bloom. Because many species tightly furl their blossoms at light, the lotus is also a symbol of opening to the light.
The roots of water lilies are embedded in the mud, well below the water line. The mud keeps the roots moist and provides a source of nutrition, while richly oxygenated water seeps into the roots.
I love the analogy of rising above muddy beginnings and blooming in spite of it all!
The lillies and stems were painted a base color and then finished with colored pencils. The lily pads are exposed patterned paper.
After reading Ginger's wonderful post this morning, I started thinking about the size of fish and what a really big pond it is out there!
I'm a little fish... but little frys grow by swimming with more experienced fish! So, I wanted to thank you all and tell you how happy I am to be invited to swim in your pond. I'll do my best to "just keep swimming!"
meet hannah and her little sister ashley! they LOVE the fish pond...and each other:) hannah used to be one of my students a couple of years ago (she is the gorgeous little blonde girl in the pic below). ironically, i also went to high school with her mom...small world! this sketch is for hannah's birthday painting, which is at the end of april. her and her sister love the fish pond as well as the yellow daylilies that can be found there as well. i love little ashley's red hair and freckles so i can't wait to start painting this!
hannah's birthday present is coming along nicely:)
Sometimes I'll pick up a piece of scrap watercolor paper and just have fun with it - no matter how odd the shape.
I’m a nature girl. Few things make me happier than spending a spring day climbing a mountain, or exploring a lake in a kayak, or walking the shoreline at the ocean… So when summer arrives, (especially on Fridays) I yearn to be away from my computer outside in the sun. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet, but amidst all the voices online you can sometimes lose your own. In fact I once spend three WHOLE days away from the internet, away from phones and books and toilets, on a three day solo in Maine. Just me, a lake, my sleeping bag and a journal. It is a truly refreshing experience, learning to spend time with yourself. So, it may seem natural that Thoreau is one of my favorite authors.
Recently I found an Oxford book titled Walden Pond: A History by W. Barksdale Maynard, and I thought it might be nice to share an excerpt from it with you. Perhaps you will find time this summer to visit Thoreau’s refuge, or to spend time thinking in your own personal Walden Pond.
By Kirsty OUP-UK
While Rebecca has been quizzing the publishing world of New York, I have been hounding people a little closer to home: the staff of OUP here in Oxford. Here is what we’ve been reading on this side of the Pond in 2007…
Kate Farquhar-Thomson, Head of Publicity
Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees by Richard Deakin. As an outdoors girl this journey through the woods and forests of both this country and abroad evokes a sense of being at one with nature in all its grandeur. I loved the book and could read it over and over each time discovering something new. (more…)