Beyond Walden: Exploring Nature Through Thoreau’s Lens

After reading Henry David Thoreau’s Walden I have a newfound appreciation for the minuscule aspects of the changing seasons and their relationship to humanistic characteristics. Within the literature, we see how Thoreau’s nature observations serve as a catalyst for philosophical reflection and contemplation. He explores complex questions about existence, society, and the meaning of life, encouraging readers to engage in introspection and critical thinking towards your meaning in a larger society. His observations were nothing short of inspiring and have led me to further pay attention to the simple aspects of nature that mirror our own levels of growth and development. Thoreau’s specific writing style portrays his brilliant mind as well as his own philosophical journey that he encourages his readers to experience themselves. Being conscious and aware was a major theme within Thoreau’s writing as well, which is exactly what I have been practicing since finishing Walden.

My Journey and Findings

Earlier this week, I went on a walk around Geneseo in order to find which aspect of nature I wanted to focus on for this blog post. Since it is currently the mid-spring season, many trees, flowers, and other plant-life are starting to develop and come back to life after the cold winter season. So, I was specifically on the lookout for a distinctive sign of the shift into the warmer months, something that signified the beautiful aspects of spring and what it provides for us, similarly to how Thoreau perceived it as well. To my excitement, I found a newly blossomed cherry tree just outside of Wadsworth Library on Center Street. It immediately caught my eye due to its beautiful color and billowy look. And as I looked closer at the tree, I noticed smaller buds that were still not fully bloomed yet, which signified how we’re still in the period of growth within spring, a transitional period of slowly adjusting and growing. The tiny growing buds could also represent something that seems so tiny, but something that has the opportunity and potential to grow and blossom into something larger and more beautiful than it was before. This reminded me much of how Thoreau alluded to personal growth, and being conscious of the fact that there is always a chance in someones life to grow into who they can fully become. As he described in his work, his idea of living at Walden pond was the start of his new beginning and a chance for him to fully appreciate simply living. Furthermore, although the appearance of the tree itself is delicate and fragile, which in a way portrays the admirable innocence of the simple things that spring creates. In Walden Thoreau discusses and emphasizes the importance of appreciating and searching for the continuously overlooked minuscule features of nature. I find this extremely commendable as he encourages his readers to enhance their lives in a very simple way that could largely shift their entire perception of existence as a whole.

Collective Thoughts

Since diving into Thoreau’s Walden, his perceptions of existence and encouragements made to society have been inspiring and admirable. The recurring themes of self-reliance, connectedness to nature, and individualism all serve a common purpose, which is to create a more meaningful life. Similarly to my findings with the cherry blossom tree, I was able to closely observe the physical attributes of the tree, but also the metaphorical purpose of it as well. And as we grow with this new spring season, I intend to be more conscious and aware of the meanings of existence, and how to enhance my perception of living. In a broader sense, I hope that Thoreau’s message continues to resonate with readers as a guide to creating a purposeful and authentic life in harmony with oneself and the surrounding environment.

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