The Discipline of Vicinity: On Visiting Walden Pond

Christina Davis
September 26, 2013

“I have come to it as if I could have been ‘away.’”
—Robert Duncan


I came before I ever read Walden. I came during my reading of Walden, and after my reading of it. I understood that no degree was required and none conferred. I recognized it as a place in which to have the Thought of That Place.

I thought of the author as the-one-ahead.

I acknowledged the being-there-before-me of others. I understood that’s what Humanities means—the being here before, and after me, of others.

At first I treated the gone-cabin as destination: promenade to its halfwayness around the Pond. I noticed the different nouns for what had stood there: “Hut.” “Cabin.” “Site.”

And where the non-agreement of these terms converged stood a cairn, commenced by Alcott. I heard my thrown stone make the abacus sound. I heard the sound of my amounting: a“finger among fingers.”1

I called the other fingers, “tourists.”
I called the other fingers, “fieldtrips.”

How many wildernesses are entered mentioning the one man—and that one person not be discoverer of anything, or founder of anything, and that one person not be victor of anything? A sometime poet and pencil-maker. A tax-evader and walk-taker. A Harvard grad and a handyman.

Henry, said as if known.

Read more at the Boston Review

Author: konigludwig

progressive social democrat, internationalist, conservationist

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