Live Deliberately

Live Deliberately...these words come from the book Walden. Published in 1854, it chronicles Henry David Thoreau's social experiment. He built a tiny, 10'x15', cabin on the shores of Walden Pond, on land owned by his friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and lived there for two years. He chose to do live in this cabin, and live off the land, in order 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."

A few weeks ago, we hiked around Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. As I said in a previous post, Concord is one of my favorite nearby towns to day-trip to. It is beautiful and full of literary magic.

The site of where Thoreau's cabin is marked in this pretty little hollow.

We went on a perfect 60 degree day and at the height of autumn's splendor. I looked up many of Thoreau's quotes as we leisurely hiked around the pond.


"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler, solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness."

"Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves."

"This world is but a canvas to our imagination."

"As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.  What is called resignation is confirmed desperation."

At the site of Thoreau's cabin.

"We must walk consciously only part way toward our goal, and then leap in the dark to our success."

"It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate."

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

"If a man does not keep at 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.

Statue of Thoreau in front of recreation of his cabin

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the live that he imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

"Truths and roses have thorns about them."

"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify."

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."

"None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm."

And on a final note, one of my favorites...

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations under them."

Hope you all have enjoyed this walk around Walden Pond with me.


  1. This is great, Alyson! What a beautiful place and it looks like the perfect day for a walk around the pond!

  2. Stunning! Beautiful pictures, as always!

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  4. Heather - Thank you! Concord is such a perfect place for a walk, especially around Walden Pond.

    Wendi - Thanks!

    Pattianne - Thank you!

    Sue - Thanks so much!

  5. This is beautifully done ... I was at Walden Pond years ago and thought it was wonderful. Great quotes. You have a really nice blog here! (2000 kids for Halloween?? are you serious?? what do you GIVE them all????)

  6. paigenicholl - Thank you! I'll have to post about our trick or treaters next and I'll let you know how we "fed" them all. Craziness, but we knew what we were in for when we moved here! :)

  7. I recognized the place immediately - I used to swim (when pregnant) and walk at Walden when we lived in Massachusetts. Your gorgeous photos capture it so well and I love how you quoted from Thoreau. This is one of my favorite posts of yours.

  8. "Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify."
    What a perfect way to start the day, thank you.

  9. Sarah - I saw a few swimming in there on that day as well. I was surprised, as I am sure the water was probably not warm. Thanks for your compliments! It is a special little place.

    Cid - Thanks for stopping by! Isn't that a great quote?!

  10. What a beautiful place. You've taken some really wonderful photos and the wise sayings are so apt.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  11. I loved this post so much that I went back twice to read it! It looks like a truly beautiful place – I especially loved this quote: "Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." This is a mantra I need to follow more often! Thanks for this lovely post Alyson, it made my day :)

  12. Maggie May - Thank you! I love Thoreau. One of the most quotable people to have lived.

    Meghan - That is so sweet! Thank you!

  13. I love this! What a beautiful post. That's such a lovely place. I haven't been there since high-school and it's high on my list of places to go next summer when we're back East. Your pictures are gorgeous and I love the quotes. Walden was a very wise man!

  14. I mean Thoreau was a very wise man! I knew that didn't sound right when I was typing it! :)

  15. Donna - Can't believe you haven't been back since high school! Time for you to go! I knew what you meant when you said Walden. I was always confuse Emerson and Thoreau and have to double check every time!

  16. Seeing the beauty that surrounds the cabin really makes the story that much more real. I can now appreciate it with a different set of eyes. Gorgeous!