Waltzing with a Loon to the Tune of a Whippoorwill

Henry’s loon waltzed into the room laughing laughing laughing at the phony moon rising over the pond-like screen laughing at Henry, at me, and at you too who scorned the whippoorwilled who loon-waltzed our way across the fall season who tweeted twitted twisted and tallyhoed on but what stilled the waters the antithesis of laughter…

Thoreau’s Bicycle

Fall falls. Footfalls squish and squash through redorangeyellow leaves, their green energy sucked back into roots, an understandable hoarding for the winter. The casual bicyclist dismounts for the season, buries the bike in the basement, perhaps intending to walk through the winter. We have come to rely on the automobile to our detriment: for cars…

Thoreau Posts

…some Thoreau posts: What Should We Keep? The R. Buckminster Fuller Archive Transition: From Walled-in with Thoreau to Take-off with Buckminster Fuller Walden: From “The Pond in Winter” to “Spring” On the ice with Thoreau What some others have said about Thoreau’s Walden A Monstrous Metaphor Fished from Walden Pond A Sixth Way of Looking at Walden: Deliberately Seeking Simplicity It is…

Thoreau’s Meanly Men and Manly Ants

“We live meanly, like ants,” Thoreau tells us in the “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” chapter of Walden, just after he’s divulged his reason for being in the woods: to distill life, then distill it some more, until he has more than 100 proof. And if life prove mean, then he will…

Progress Report: Our Disappearing World

Someday, all of the telephone poles will have vanished. They are gradually, slowly disappearing from view as the wires they hold aloft are placed underground or the signals they link go wireless. Does this mean we are improving? Is the human condition better or worse or the same as we found it yesterday, or better…

On Universe: A Conversation Between Thoreau and Bucky

Thoreau: “What distant and different beings in the various mansions of the universe are contemplating the same one at the same moment!” Fuller: “Man seems unique as the comprehensive comprehender and co-ordinator of local universe affairs.” Thoreau: “Probably I should not consciously and deliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands…

Transition: From Walled-in with Thoreau to Take-off with Buckminster Fuller

“We can never get enough of nature,” Thoreau says (297), yet we will soon have turned the entire planet into garbage. But, as Slavoj Žižek has said, we must learn to love garbage, for it reflects our imperfections (Examined Life, at 1:04:40). “I desire to speak somewhere without bounds,” Thoreau says, in the Walden chapter…

Walden: From “The Pond in Winter” to “Spring”

In Samuel Beckett’s chapter of Our Exagmination Round His Factification For Incamination of Work in Progress, twelve essays looking at Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (reissued New Directions Paperbook 331, 1972), titled “Dante… Bruno. Vico.. Joyce,” Beckett says, “Words have their progressions as well as social phases. ‘Forest-cabin-village-city-academy’ is one rough progression…And every word expands with psychological…

On the ice with Thoreau

Reading Walden this time around, and coming near the end of the literary sojourn, the Portland east winds blowing out of the Gorge, cracking their taut, dry cheeks while I burrowed into the  “Winter Animals” and “The Pond in Winter” chapters, I reflected on where nature goes in contemporary life, for we spend sweeping resources…

What some others have said about Thoreau’s Walden

Agger, Michael. “Thoreau’s Worst Nightmare: Are the new ascetics masters of self-denial or just self-promotion?” Mother Jones Nov./Dec. 2008. “An Exchange on Thoreau” 2 Dec. 1999 Lawrence Buell, reply by Leo Marx IN RESPONSE TO: “The Struggle Over Thoreau” from the June 24, 1999 issue [New York Review of Books]. “Bibliography on Walden: Selected Articles,…

A Monstrous Metaphor Fished from Walden Pond

If Walden, the pond, as Thoreau tells us (“The Ponds” chapter), sports some, but not many, fish, “…pickerel…perch and pouts…breams, and a couple of eels. Nevertheless, this pond is not very fertile in fish” (174), Walden, the book, is well stocked with metaphorical fish; some, when pulled to the surface, monstrous tropes: “A lake…is earth’s…

A Sixth Way of Looking at Walden: Deliberately Seeking Simplicity

Walter Harding suggested “Five Ways of Looking at Walden.” Bill McKibben, in his introduction to the Beacon Press edition of Walden, cites two “practical questions…: How much is enough? And How do I know what I want?” (xi). Reading Walden as a way of asking these questions for ourselves, McKibben suggests, is another way of…