Present Moment

In the Summer of 1845, Henry David Thoreau built a small cabin on Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. There he stayed for two years and three months. “I went to the woods,” he wrote, “because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, to see if I could learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived . . . I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdy and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life.”

Thoreau died of tuberculosis at age 45. During the months of what we would now call “terminal illness,” the truth he had learned in his experience at Walden Pond was confirmed: every moment of life is priceless. When a friend tried to get him to speculate on life after death, Thoreau is reported to have said, “One world at a…

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