Growing up in Massachusetts, you can't escape Henry David Thoreau. Every high school English curriculum in New England hits Thoreau to some degree. He was famous for living 2 years (roughly) in a basic cabin on the edge of Walden Pond during the mid 1800's which became the inspiration for his book "Walden". He was also a member of a sort of "rat pack" of his time which included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
As for the pond, it's a very typical medium size of which there are thousands in New England. Yet during my youth, I never made the effort to actually make a visit even though it was nearby. So during our visit to Massachusetts, I decided a stop at Walden could tie up an old loose end while demystifying the stomping ground of Henry David Thoreau.
Walden is located in Concord MA, just a few minutes drive from my parents place in Littleton. Virginia and I walked the circumference of the pond taking a detour up to the spot where Thoreau had his small cabin. He chose a really nice open space; elevated to give a view of the forest and the water beyond.
Walden's quest to observe nature more closely rings truer for me today than ever. These days, I tend to seek out beauty in nature as my default way to de-stress, relax and stay happy in a heavily digital world. Rereading a bit of Thoreau some 30 year later brings on new appreciation of his observations that just didn't click previously.
That the years add insight which isn't present during your youth shouldn't be too surprising I guess.
A passage from the book “Walden”:
“The phenomena of the year take place every day in a pond on a small sale. Every morning, generally speaking, the shallow water is being warmed more rapidly than the deep, though it may not be made so warm after all, and every evening it is being cooled more rapidly until the morning. The day is an epitome of the year. The night is the winter, the morning and evening are the spring and fall, and the noon is the summer.”
And while I'm on the subject of history, the Concord area is chock full of serious American history. On the way back from Walden we stopped at the Old North Bridge which spans the Concord river. (Not to be confused with the Old North Church in Boston which - although is more famous - doesn't span much of anything.)
The bridge and surrounding area is now part of Minuteman National Historic Park. The bridge was the site of the first battle between the British and Minutemen that started the American Revolutionary war. Not to surprising, it was my first visit.