During the past four years, I have been fortunate to teach a course about Henry David Thoreau at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, in Sudbury, Massachusetts, a school located on the edge of his old 'hood and sauntering grounds.
One class activity involves watching the sun rise at Walden and taking an early autumn morning dip in its fabled waters. To sit in the pitch dark on its shores and watch the first rays of the sun bend over the pond...this is a moment powerful enough to subdue even the chattiest high school student into perfect silence. It happens every time. Our eyes widen and we search for light. Our ears vibrate to the slightest sound. As Thoreau would say, we are now employing our senses. The buzz rises on Rt. 2. We do not hear it. School awaits. We do not think of it. We are only where we are. We are nowhere else.
It should come as no surprise that such moments have produced some wonderful student photographs, meditations, and poems. But the teacher was not indifferent. He sat with his students staring into the black void. He too was swept off into darkness and then transported into the early morning dreamscape of Walden.
What follows are the poems I wrote while sitting on Waldens shores, or while thinking about Thoreau and Nature wherever I happened to find myself.