Thoreau, as Good Now as Then

For those that know me, you may be shocked to learn that one of my favorite authors is Henry David Thoreau. I rarely quote Transcendentalists at parties. Thanks to Twitter (and @Mark_Shriver for tweeting and @matthewjdowd for writing) and the great sharing of information that takes place there, I came across the following article by Matthew Dowd. What Thoreau has always meant to me is a call to simplicity, getting in touch with nature and a focus on what really matters. Take a read. It is a great article. Take a watch, too, as the piece by Dowd was featured on Bloomberg TV.

Dowd examines five key points from Thoreau, who spent over two years living in a cabin on Walden Pond in the 1840s. “Reflection and solitude, simplicity, integrity, local matters and civil disobedience” matter as much today (if not more) than they did in the 1840s. Thoreau’s words have proven to be timeless. I am inspired and scared by this at the same time. Haven’t we learned anything since the 1840s? Do not answer that question.

Compared to the hustle and bustle of the school year, the summer months in schools are a great time for solitude and reflection. My copy of Walden is always in my car  with me. I may not read it every day, but it is a reminder of the points that Dowd references. While the summer is not a complete time of “solitude”, it is a great time for reflection and refocus. The summer is my “Walden Pond” and I am grateful for it.  Enjoy August, “the Sunday of summer,” as Andy Deyell so eloquently spoke at our last administrative team meeting (I still think he borrowed the line from someone). I am guessing Thoreau might have agreed with this phrase. See everyone in September. Until then, back to “Walden Pond” with my fishing pole in hand.

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