Henry David Thoreau wanted to shake-up his thinking, clear his head and contemplate life, mankind and society. In search of solitude and simplicity, he moved into a cabin on Walden Pond, on the property of his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts. For two years, two months and two days, he lived alone, seeking self-sufficiency—living a simple life surrounded by nature. The result? Thoreau’s masterpiece of American Romantic literature: Walden or Life in the Woods.
Published on this day in 1854, Thoreau’s reflections are still the granddaddy of the “back to nature” trend and the movement to live “off the grid.” Although the book initially received mixed reviews (including some mean criticism), time has been good to the book and its writer.
The Amish bentwood rocking chair, pictured above, was handcrafted for a child. It’s not very old, dated 9 February 1983, but it typifies many of the virtues expressed in Walden: simplicity, contemplation, and making use of what’s at hand.