Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the New England Yankee social critic who wrote “Walden,” one of the American classics, rebelled at the intrusion of government and social institutions on man’s life. When he was twenty-seven, Thoreau moved from his home in Concord, Massachusetts to nearby Walden Pond where he built a small cabin. He spent two years there, living his way into each moment of the day, trying to be totally present to each simple thing that was happening. In “Walden,” Thoreau reflects his extraordinary delight in life, his rare ability to find real joy in the ordinary, simple things in life. He didn’t merely swim or fish or raise beans or play the flute or take hikes or read books or talk to friends, he entered into the experience-listening, noticing, paying attention, marveling, enjoying. At the age of forty-five, Thoreau was stricken with tuberculosis. During the months of what we would now call “terminal illness,” the lesson of the pricelessness of each moment of life…
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