Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Henry David Thoreau/Thomas Merton

On January 2, 2007, a mild sunny day, Ellen and I went to the site of Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond to check out the environs chosen by the guy who wrote: "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."

What I learned was that his cabin had been just a couple miles from Concord, close enough that he could drop in on his parents and probably have a hearty meal and free laundry service, or get drunk and convivial in a tavern ... well, it was sort of disappointing, rather like when I learned that Thomas Merton had had a long-running affair with a woman while presenting himself to the world as a solitude-loving monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane.