As I sit in my Adirondack chair, perched on a knoll looking out over the snow-clad mountains of Walden, Vermont, I am transported back to another time and place—to the windowless college classroom where I taught Thoreau’s Walden to urban students for just over a decade.
We had been discussing “The Ponds” chapter, when one of the usually taciturn students began to wave his hand energetically in the air to ask whether I had ever kayaked or hiked around the pond in Walden, Vermont.
Walden, Vermont, I recall repeating. “Is there such a place?”
From that initial reference, I was smitten—enthralled by the idea of another Walden, far from the popular pilgrimage site in metropolitan Boston, existing quietly in the great NorthWoods—the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
As the student waxed poetically about the wilds of Walden, Vermont, his enthusiasm sparked my curiosity, enkindling my imagination to travel North—away from the crowded streets and seaside towns of Boston, North through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, into the Greens of Vermont—winding past dairy farms and organic fields to a place dense in spruce and maples, rife with wildlife, surrounding an ancient spring-fed pond.
Even as awakened as I felt by the news of a place rich in wildness, I had absolutely no idea—at least consciously—that the actual & imaginative worlds of Walden North would soon lure me away from my academic world down there—to the world of fiction up here—in Walden North, Vermont.
My story of a transformative journey along this ‘less-traveled road’ chronicled in my forthcoming novel, The Road to Walden North, provides the context for this blog.
Here, under old-growth trees—both actual and aesthetic—I intend to share various aspects of life from this special place, intertwined as boughs in a deep forest canopy with themes from Walden.
I hope the idea of a Walden North lures you to my pages, perhaps, in turn, inspiring a journey of your own to a special Place, both real and transcendent.
Welcome to the world of Walden North, Vermont.
As Ishmael proclaimed of the mighty whale, “Is there not magic in it?”
Welcome to my world.