A world all to myself (Walden 88)

Thoreau’s cabin wasn’t far from town and Walden Pond wasn’t truly a wilderness. Even so, living there he experienced a level of solitude that is increasingly rare in today’s world.

Detail of 1852 map, showing Concord and Walden Pond. Library of Congress

Detail of 1852 map, showing Concord and Walden Pond. Library of Congress

“For what reason have I this vast range and circuit, some square miles of unfrequented forest, for my privacy, abandoned to me by men? My nearest neighbor is a mile distant, and no house is visible from any place but the hill-tops within half a mile of my own. … I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

To me, it’s a great luxury to be outdoors and completely alone, with no other person as far as I can see. Whenever I find it I’m surprised that not one other person is seeking out that very spot at that very moment. Everyone is missing it but me!

I live in a city of about 200,000 people, but find that solitude is usually easily available at local prairies and wildlife areas. I don’t want to live like a hermit (Henry didn’t either) but it’s refreshing to get away for a time. It was one of the things I missed when I lived in a larger city. Without any humans to react to, it’s just you and the land, you and the sky. Leave your phone behind, leave your thoughts behind. Give yourself some space.

Nine Mile Prairie, Lincoln, Nebraska

Nine Mile Prairie, Lincoln, Nebraska

(About  “A Year in Walden”)

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