On the Shore of Walden Pond

by on June 6, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "Growth" by Tyler Malone

The Boss droned on. “Yes, and next quarter we project earnings of…”

Stifling a yawn, he adjusted his tie and feigned attention, nodding occasionally like a good employee should. In his mind, though, it was different. In his mind, he journeyed back across time and space to Walden Pond and the home of Henry David Thoreau.

“Hi. Welcome.” Thoreau greeted him, smiling through his bushy beard. He adjusted his straw hat and patted the log he was sitting on. “Come over here. Sit down and join me.”

The request seemed perfectly natural, so the employee did. “Thank you,” he said. “My name’s Alex. Alex Jensen.”

“Nice to meet you, Alex. I’m Henry. Henry David Thoreau.”

They shook hands.

“Nice to meet you too.”

Alex was immediately put at ease by the outdoorsy-looking man. This is lots better than sitting in a boring meeting, he thought to himself.

They sat quietly together and gazed out over the sparkling waters of a pond that lay about a hundred feet in front of them. A small flock of purple finches flittered and popped into and out of nearby bushes. A pair of energetic squirrels played in a maple tree next to them, and a woodpecker drummed on nearby oak. Behind them stood a roughly hewn but solidly built small cabin.

Henry took out his battered briar pipe and lit it. He took a minute to get it going and then blew a stream of aromatic tobacco away from where the two men were sitting. “Nice day,” he said.

“It is,” Alex nodded. He sat back and sighed a contented sigh, happy beyond words to be free from the meeting and the office. It felt good to be outdoors. “Now, anyway.”

Henry looked at him perplexed. “What do you mean?”

Alex shook his head “Nothing.” He wasn’t sure even he could explain it. All he knew was that it felt good to be here. Good to be outside in the fresh air. Good to be with this tranquil man.

Henry shrugged his shoulders. “Suit yourself.”

Feeling remarkably at ease, Alex asked, “Henry, I have a question for you.”

“Ask away.”

“Do you mind if I stay here a while?”

The peaceful man puffed his pipe and looked at Alex with eyes as clear as the blue sky above them. “Not at all,” he said. “Stay as long as you like.”

“Thanks,” Alex said, greatly relieved. “I think I will.”

Henry nodded. “Good,” he said. He watched as Alex stretched his legs and made himself comfortable. Then he added with a twinkle in his eye. “Go ahead and take your tie off, too, if you want.” He grinned. “I would.”

Alex laughed. He took off his tie, rolled it up, and put it in his pocket. He undid the top two buttons of his dress shirt and then closed his eyes. He tilted his head back feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays on his face. Nearby more birds twittered in the bushes and more squirrels chattered from high in a tree. Out on the lake, a loon called.

Alex hadn’t felt this relaxed in…well, he couldn’t remember.

Next to him, Henry David Thoreau said, “I was thinking about going back to the cabin and making my noon meal. Would you like to join me?”

Alex didn’t have to think. “I’d love to,” he said.

“Good.” Henry got to his feet. “Here, let me help you up.”

Alex extended his hand. “Thank you.”

Henry pulled him to his feet and Alex followed his new friend toward his cabin. He was kind of hungry and was looking forward to having something to eat. Plus, he was actually pretty good in the kitchen and could help out. And he was in no hurry to go back to work either. Especially if he had to leave the peaceful setting and the quiet companionship of his new friend.

The more he thought about it, the more he thought that going back to work just might have to wait for a while. In fact, he might never go back. He might just stay here and learn to live a different kind of life, one simpler and more fulfilling. Yeah, that seemed like a good idea. A really good idea.

“Henry,” he called out.

“What?” Thoreau stopped at the door to his cabin and turned.

“I have a question for you.”

“Sure,” Henry smiled. “Ask away.”

editors note:

We need guides, help, and ways to see into the present from the past. Sometimes, they’re there, waiting for you to meet them. ~ Tyler Malone

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