Walden Revisited: Thoreau and Contemplating Snow

The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why; in short, to draw a new circle. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful: it is by abandonment.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays: The First and Second Series

© Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Henry David Thoreau contemplating snow in front of his cabin at Walden Pond.
Ralph Waldo Emerson owned the property on which Thoreau loved at Walden Pond.

In an earlier blog entry, I mentioned a memorable New Year’s Eve spent in solitude at Walden Pond. (If you missed that post, please click here to view the photo.)

I wrote about that very special New Year’s Eve:

It was sublimely peaceful that New Year’s Eve at Walden Pond. I was alone save for a sculpted snowman watching over the shore.

The snowman and, of course, the statue of Henry David Thoreau next to his small cabin.

Someone earlier had placed a carved piece of snow in his hand, and it was amusing to see Thoreau staring at it intently, as if contemplating snow.

The setting sun cast wintry golden light through the trees on the far shore, reflecting the sky and horizon on the softly frozen water.

For Paula’s “Thursday’s Special,” I wanted to share my photo of Henry David Thoreau “contemplating snow.” It was New Year’s Eve and closing out the year at Walden was a deeply moving experience. Historical and symbolic meanings aside… Well, let me stop and take that back because those concepts can’t really be cast aside at Walden…

On top of the historical and symbolic aspects, and the peace, tranquility, and solitude at Walden that day, the statue of Thoreau contemplating snow made for a perfect light-hearted grace note.

This week, WordPress has tasked us with speaking about habits, hence the Emerson quote.

Whomever placed the block of snow in Thoreau’s hand “drew a new circle,” with enthusiasm.

One of my habits shows through the great blue heron photos: they are a passion, one I pursue with adandon and intensity. That’s a trait, a habit of mine, especially it comes to my enthusiasm with various subjects for photos. I have taken more than 100,000 heron photos. When Comet Hale-Bopp was visible here, I photographed it almost nightly for months until it vanished from our skies.

An old lover, when asked once by a mutual friend what I was up to, replied, “I don’t know, but whatever it is, she’s doing it intensely, passionately.”

Emerson got it right: “The way of life is wonderful: it is by abandonment.”


Thanks to Paula and WordPress for the Thursday’s Special Non-Challenge Challenge.

Thanks to Michelle W and WordPress for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit.

Thanks to the kind folks at NaBloPoMo for the National Blog Posting Month challenge this November.


A selection of my heron and flower photos is now available at the Five Crows Gallery in Natick, MA. Drop in and see the work of the many wonderfully creative artists who show there when you’re in the area.

Five Crows is on FaceBook. To give the gallery a visit, please click here.

Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

(This took place December 31, 2004)

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2013 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted on November 14, 2013, in daily prompt, Inspiration, NaBloPoMo, Nature, Nature Photography, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge, Wildlife Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Dear Babsje, I wish I could have seen this the moment you published the post – the time difference is responsible that I am here only now. I admire both Thoreau and Emerson as well as your dedication and abandonment in your passions 🙂 Thank you for sharing this side of yours with us. My best, Paula

    • Hi Paulla – I’m pleased that you like Thoreau and Emerson, as do I. Many thanks for your kind compliment! I’m sorry about the time difference and for posting that one so late yesterday – I have been on deadline for an art project the past couple of weeks and so my schedule has been topsy-turvey, but hopefully back to normal before we have next week’s Thursday’s Special. Best, Babsje

  2. Wat a lovely post, Babsje. What a very special new Year’s Eve. I love the pic of Thoreau looking down at the snowball. 🙂
    Just popping in to let you know that I’ve started a new blog. Here is the link: http://anotherday2paradise.wordpress

  3. Just discovered your Walden series – lovely.

  1. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Reaching for a Star | Lost in Translation

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