Walden by Henry David Thoreau

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Every spring, I read passages from Walden by Henry David Thoreau from a hard copy book that my father gifted me many years ago.

Walden, published in 1854, is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and is recognized as one of the most influential works of American literature. The book was first published in Boston by Ticknor and Fields and has since been republished numerous times.

Where is Walden?

Walden Pond, located in Concord, Massachusetts, was formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago. In his book, Walden, Henry David Thoreau recounts his experiences over the course of two years, two months, and two days in a cabin he built near Walden Pond amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Pursuits of Simplicity and Self-sufficiency



“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Henry David Thoreau wanted to live deliberately, to examine his life and its purpose, to explore the idea of living in harmony with nature. He believed that by living in Walden he could better understand himself, his beliefs, and the world around him. He wanted to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and to focus on his writing and philosophy.

The American Transcendentalist Movement

The American Transcendentalist movement was a philosophical and literary movement that began in the early 19th century, largely based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau and his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This philosophy was a profound reaction to the growing industrialization and materialism of the time.

Transcendentalists believed that the human spirit was capable of transcending the physical world and finding spiritual truth, and that this truth could be found in nature and within oneself. They also believed in the power of individualism and the importance of living a moral and ethical life.


“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Is Walden Relevant Today?

Re-reading passages from Walden, I am encouraged to think deeply about the world me and the choices I have made in life. Henry David Thoreau’s writing style is both inspiring and thought-provoking. Do I value living a simple life? Do I appreciate the beauty of nature and the importance of living in harmony with it.

Walden is an insightful and timeless exploration of the human experience, and is essential reading for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Thank you for joining me at my “Walden”.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

51 thoughts on “Walden by Henry David Thoreau

    1. Thank you so much for joining me in nature, Lavinia. I agree wholeheartedly that Walden remains relevant, now more than ever. Thoreau’s thought gives me pause: “ The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” May we seek a more serene lifestyle.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Splendid. Been slowly reading Walden for a while. Yesterday I was reading a passage about the ice cutters coming to the lake to cart off tons of ice to be stored for the summer. At one point he says they were using techniques too common to be described… he clearly wasn’t aware then of how long his literary legacy would last.

    ✨🦋🐍🕊🐉🗝⚖🕯🤍⚛🎐🎋🙏✨

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    1. Thank you Graham for joining me for a “Walden Moment.” For me, Walden is a slow read and cannot be read in a sitting. There is to much to contemplate. Those techniques too common to be described are sometimes lost to the folds of history. My mother and I were talking about how she made butter on the farm in the 1930’s. All I know how to do is to locate butter in a grocery store. LOL!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I’ve been picking the book up and reading only a couple of pages or so at a time…

        Makes you ponder all those trades and professions, such as the ice cutters, that have disappeared owing to the march of “progress”.

        One can only speculate as to where all the current wave of AI development will lead…

        Following on from the creation of AIs capable of producing creative content, I think the next logical step is to develop AIs to consume that content for us… We can then cut the middleman out of the equation entirely… 😉😜😏

        😌🙏✨

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Shey for joining me in Walden – Vancouver. Serendipity came calling when I arrived at the pond just as the honking started. I heard the geese noise a couple of minutes before their arrival so was able to set myself up for the landings. Did you see the lone Heron. As the rest flap around and make loud noises, the Heron takes on the calm of a zen monk.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes, dear Rebecca. Were we in the 19th century much closer to Mother Nature? I think that the answer is yes! And it is much more relevant that we read and again read such treasures so long we can.
    Thank you so much for this great post, my dear friend; occasionally, there was a synchronisation between us; my latest post is about Shakri, the transcendent Mother Goddess. Blessing.🤗🙏💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you,Alaedin for joining me for a “Walden” moment and adding your profound comments to the conversation. I read your article on Shakti, The Transcendent Mother, with great interest. This is an area that I would like to explore further. Thank you for the introduction – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello. I’ve read several of his books. My favorite is “Cape Cod.” He made several trips to Cape Cod and wrote insightfully and humorously about them. I have special affection for this book because I have vacationed on Cape Cod many times. I love the place.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing a “Walden” moment with me. Thank you for the introduction to Cape Cod. I just found the book on Gutenberg Press and am looking forward to exploring this book. I have never been to Cape Cod and can only imagine how beautiful it must be.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Stunning video and Walden reading, Rebecca. The wild places give us unique perspectives on our own place in the world. The overcast sky, the birds splashing, eating and swimming, and the greens sprouting randomly in the gray and brown detritus of the previous autumn feel so alive. As you know, Walden was one of my first inspirations as a teenager. The Transcendentalist Movement accompanied my introduction to haiku. Thoreau’s reverence for nature and its profound metaphors began my spiritual journey as an adult. Your father’s gift has been sweetly treasured by you and shared with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for joining me at Walden Vancouver. I recall my father talking about The Transcendental Movement even a young child, Mary Jo. I still have much to learn about this philosophy, especially how to integrate this thought process within our interconnected world that thrives on noise.

      I believe that poetry opens us to implementing the transcendental philosophy in our lives. Taking time to meditate (even as little at 10 minutes/day), practice mindfulness, and acknowledging and appreciating the beauty of nature. While this may seem simplistic, asking ourselves introspective questions such as “What is the purpose of my life?” and “What is the meaning of life? can lead to meaningful internal dialogues.

      “When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear Rebecca, It seems to me that nature has much more to give me than I expect, but often times I have to listen more carefully• Therefore I thank you for your special proposal and I will take up Walden again and let me be inspired!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Martina – I believe that you have identified the most important issue that comes through Walden and that is to listen to nature’s heartbeat. Listening is essential to being in sync with nature. In our busyness of life, we are surrounded by sound and have learned to tune out noise. I agree – we need to listen more carefully. Thank you for joining me on a nature walk.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. You know I haven’t read much Thoreau. I’ll have to see if I have anything by him in my poetry collection and give it go. I usually pull Mary Oliver when I’m wanting to read about nature in poetry.

    I love the texture and soft fluffiness of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mary Oliver poems are remarkable. I love to recite them in nature. Her poetry is still in copyright so I am unable to publish my recitations of her poems on video. I share Mary Oliver’s love of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry. When she was 17, Mary Oliver visited Edna St. Vincent Millay’s home in Austerlitz, New York. She met Edna’s sister, Norma. Mary and Norma spent the next 6 – 7 years organizing Edna’s papers for her estate. It is not surprising that Mary was influenced by Henry David Thoreau. I am delighted you enjoyed the video, Deborah. Thank you for your lovely comments.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Rebecca, mesmerizing words (Thoreau), recitation (you), and images (water, birds, etc.) in your video. Thoreau nailed the intersection of simple and profound, and his thoughts about the importance of nature are timeless.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for joining Henry and me at “Walden – Vancouver” Dave. When I think of Thoreau, I think of him in the woods furiously scribbling his thoughts near the water’s edge. But he had a very interesting story beyond Walden. For example, I just discovered that he worked in his family’s pencil factory and resurrected the Conte process (patented in 1795 by Nicolas-Jacques Conte) a way of creating good pencils with inferior graphite by using clay as a binder. He also refused to pay 6 years of poll taxes because of his opposition to Mexican-American War and slavery. He spend a night in jail and then was released next day because it is believed a family member paid the taxes in his stead. But I digress (as usual)….

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Those birds are having themselves quite a time! I got a big kick out of watching and listening to them in your video. When I’m out in nature, I can feel the difference in my body. It’s an instant blood pressure reducer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree – it’s an instant book pressure reducer. I am fascinated by how this community of winged friends engage with each other, Liz. Did you seen the lone Heron standing still which all other were flapping around. There is a life lesson here!!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I have found it difficult to comment, Rebecca. I have already tried and removed my words.
    My life has been one of such an ‘other worldly’ nature mingled, intermittently, with a life in the spotlight.
    I have valued the years of inner reflection; the not so common experiences with spirit that have formed the past number of decades; the times spent in quiet reflection with nature as my companion; the years of communion with my inner self, my higher self. It has been said of me that I have been, in the main, secluded and separated from the usual happenings most experience. And yet I have also enjoyed, especially of late, the sensory joy of comradery with like minds who enjoy music and the wonderful exuberance of movement of the physical body!
    These are some of the thoughts your video, and post in general, have evoked.
    I have not read Henry David Thoreau, and yet I believe, like you, we are fellow spiritual travelers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your insightful and profound comments, Carolyn. You would enjoy reading Walden, which speaks to living simply within a complex environment. While we think that our time is more uncertain than the time of Henry David Thoreau, I believe that humanity has never experienced a time of complete certainty or tranquility. One of my favourite quotes is:

      “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden

      I enjoy our conversations – thank you!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Beautiful quote, Rebecca. I am certain I would not only enjoy reading Walden, I would also identify closely with its sentiments; as do you.
        You know, or I do hope you know, how much I admire you, and your wonderful articles that cause such connection.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Rebecca
    thank you very much for your informative post about the American Transzentialists. You wouldn’t believe it, but I first read about Thoreau while researching pigments in colour pencils for a book. Thoreau’s father was a producer of pencils. He worked in his father’s company before Walden. Anyway, thanks for your post.
    Hugs from us to all of you
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me in a Walden moment, Klausbernd. I always enjoy our conversations. Thoreau had a curiosity that fascinates me. For example during his “pencil” days he improved the family business when where he resurrected The Conté process, first patented by Nicolas-Jacques Conté in 1795, which involves the mixing of graphite and clay. He then went on to convert the entire factory. It seemed that he changed everything that came into his sphere of influence.

      Sending my love and many hugs to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I continue to be mesmerized by Thoreau and his book and the Transcendentalist Movement, Rebecca. I could live on a pond in a cabin quite contentedly. A beautiful post and recording, my friend. The quotes are lovely too. Thanks for starting my day with a touch of serenity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you joined me for a “Walden Moment” Diana. I am ever more conscious of the need to seek quiet reflection in the midst of a society that loves speed. Walden is a beautiful exploration of self-reliance, nature, and the importance of living a meaningful life. I love when serendipity steps in and sets the perfect stage for a Walden recitation.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for joining me for a “Walden moment” Linda. I checked in with my winged friends and asked them to make a grand appearance. They were so accommodating. LOL!! I very much appreciate your visit and comments.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am delighted that you joined me for a Walden moment, Teagan. My winged friends came at the exact time that I was walking past the pond. I love how serendipity comes calling. Sending hugs back across the miles.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Very beautiful words, and you recited it so well. Thank you for sharing the photos, as well. This, for me, was a very challenging and uplifting post. Thank you for sharing., just what I needed, today! !

    Liked by 2 people

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