Our family visited Walden Pond near Boston Massachusetts many years ago. It is where the author and idealist Henry David Thoreau lived and wrote his book Walden- Life in the Woods.
In 1845 Thoreau went into the woods and for over two years existed in almost complete solitude. He wanted to simplify his lifestyle and become more in tune with nature. He kept a detailed journal and later this account of his experiences was published as a book. It is considered a classic piece of American literature.
Today all that remains of Thoreau’s little cabin is a pile of rocks and a modest wooden sign with a quote from his book. Thoreau was motivated to go and live in the woods because he was worried about America’s future. He was dismayed by the growing commercialism he saw all around him and thought the only hope for his country lay in a return to a more basic lifestyle. A tradition amongst visitors to the Walden Pond site is to write their hopes for the future on one of the rocks on the pile where Thoreau’s cabin stood. Legend has it those wishes will be washed into Walden Pond by the rain and will eventually come true. Each member of our family tried to imagine the future by writing our dreams and wishes on one of the Walden Pond rocks.
Famous lifestyle coach Stephen Covey, who died last week ,advised us to ‘begin with the end in mind’ if we desired lives that had meaning and value. We decide what we want to achieve in the future and it helps us plan our present. I don’t know if I completely agree.
I had trouble imagining my future at Walden Pond. What direction did I want my life to take? Did I really want to make a plan or set goals or would I rather life just unfold? My grandmother once told me that gypsies used to camp just outside the village where she grew up in Ukraine. If you gave them a watermelon they would tell you what the future held in store for you. Grandma told me she never gave the gypsies a watermelon because she had no desire to know her future. What a wise woman!
That day at Walden Pond. I wrote some dreams on my rock. I have to admit that twenty years later the wishes I penned at Walden Pond still have not come true. The hopes I had for my future haven’t been realized but I’m really not disappointed. I think the future I’ve been granted has turned out to be every bit as good as the one I imagined that day at Walden Pond. Jesus said in the book of Matthew that we should let ‘tomorrow’- the future- take care of itself. What a wise man!