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VI ~ Henry David Thoreau

“...an infinite expectation...”

“We must learn to reawken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestional ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful, but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do.”

—Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Roots, Lichens, Moss And Pine Needles

Walden And Then Some

It is not possible to write about Thoreau without at least a few of his words.

I have had the privilige of two books published with my photographs and words by Thoreau: Walking (The Nature Company, 1994, 7 printings) and The Illuminated Walden, 2002, Barnes & Noble, introduction by Don Henley, two printings). This book was in commeration of the publishing of the original Walden.These books, of course, cannot begin to do justice to Thoreau’s work and influence. However, my ten years photographing the pond and its surroundings did, I believe, capture a good deal of its specialness and at least a couple of occasions when its surroundings, in a sense, blossomed.

Click on the two arrows at left for a full-screen slide show.

There is a tension for me here between art and documentary, how far afield to include, seasons vs. location and so forth and these are a small part of the images I made. I spent parts of 10 (or was it 11) years hiking around Walden Pond but more photographing other places associated with Thoreau, especially the Sudbury River and Baxter State Park in Maine. Artistically the best images are from a tiny vernal pool called Wyman’s Meadow a few feet from the pond, Thoreau’s Cove and the site of Thoreau’s cabin that the thousands of people taking the hike around the pond never noticed. Through stunning luck I first passed it on October 19, 1991 a day I will not forget. On that one day Wyman’s Meadow shown as it never did again.

Then there are places near the pond such as the Fairhaven Cliffs overlooking the Sudbury River. Most such places have one or two pictures included here, but I hit Fairhaven Cliffs after the ice storm of my life, and at sunset. Its images are in the “Ice” gallery.

Maine was almost as important to me as Massachetts and was also to Thoreau, especially I believe, Baxter State Park. Maine wase also the state I photographed most after Massachusetts.

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