Monday, September 30, 2013

Blue Lake and Walden

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Two Saturdays ago my little family set out for another adventure in the wilderness.  We awoke early, packed some rations, and drove a few hours north and then upwards into the mountain air.  Once past the city, we opened the windows and felt the zephyr chill, we saw our breath become visible, and we felt our feet kick in anticipation of our hike to Blue Lake.

Once there, we stepped from our vehicle and into the wild.  I gulped in the air.  There is no fragrance equal to forested hills and babbling brooks.  I looked over at Jim, his face mirrored his inner excitement; my own outmatched to his.  Out in the wild, away from civilization, inhaling the algid mountain air, communing with and exploring nature's terrain; that is Jim's felicity.  You can read it on his countenance when we set out on outdoor adventures together, and I am both in awe and bedeviled by him for it.  Mostly the first, rather than the later.

Our whole experience hiking to Blue Lake a few Saturday's ago reminded me of Henry David Thoreau's Walden.  I studied it a bit in college, and have a copy of it sitting on my bookshelf -- more for appearances than reading these days.  However, I can both appreciate the language and sentiments behind Thoreau's two-year experiment of solitude.  I think Jim would very much like to spend two years alone in the wilderness.  Unfortunately for him, his wife and children wouldn't fair well that long.  I myself relish in a sprinkling of outdoorsy days throughout the year; my children delight in such adventures as well.  However,  the fear of getting devoured by a bear or mountain lion brings me happily back into our civilized arrangement in the suburbs.  Be that as it may, to occasionally sneak into the wild, and gaze upon God's first and untouched creations with those I care for most; that is a delight very much on par with Walden's ideals.  Henry David Thoreau and Jim Jacobs have got something figured out when it comes to the bliss of nature.  

And so, below are some of my favorite Walden quotes mingled with some photos of our Blue Lake adventure that appeared worthy of Thoreau's musings.


“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” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden





“A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden



"Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden




“I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden




“Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it...At last we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think.” 


-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden




“The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden



“I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden




“A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden



I read that while Thoreau fully advocated for outdoorsy recreation, such as hiking and canoeing, he didn't reject civilization.  I like to believe that while he felt comfort in nature's solitude, he understood there is a time and place for embracing both the wilderness and the company of his fellow man.  I feel the same.  While there is no innervation like climbing a mountain, or leaping from stone to stone while crossing moving water that can be duplicated by man, I like to return home to my well constructed life.  I enjoy both the company of myself and with others.  I like my pillows to be both made of moss and synthetically-stuffed.  I enjoy watching a fish jump from a pond just as much as seeing it from the glare of my telly.  I can contemplate Thoreau from a tree stump, and while typing into the glow of my computer screen.  I think the point to these jumbled end-thoughts is that, this world -- the natural and man-made parts of it -- are all to be marveled at.  We live in a wonderful time full of possibility.  I'm so excited to explore various avenues, and raise my children to discover the wonder of it all. . . 

But a few Saturday's ago, I was especially excited for them to discover Blue Lake with Jim and me.

1 comment:

Boom said...

Thanks for sharing!