Read Any Good Thoreau Lately?
For years scholars have debated the question. Did Henry David Thoreau ever get cabin fever? We won’t try to resolve that here. What we can tell you, however, is that Mr. Thoreau did indeed leave the cozy confines of his cabin on Walden Pond in August of 1846 for the first of his three historic ventures into the wilds of Maine. And really, what better place for a transcendental gentleman to stretch his legs and his mind than that vast, beautiful and mystical land to the north?
Of course, we all know the results of Thoreau’s period of seclusion at the pond in Massachusetts. It was his most famous work, “Walden,” a book that would change the way people thought about the relationship between human beings and nature and the implications for a simpler, more natural and reflective path to the pursuit of happiness.
Yet it was in his next-most-famous work, “The Maine Woods” that Thoreau would expand and expound on his philosophy, based upon his inspiring, exhilarating and transcendent experiences in Maine. The collected essays in “The Maine Woods” contain all the elements of Thoreau’s philosophy, with new reflections, revelations and an even deeper respect for the natural world. It was here that Thoreau encountered the ways and wisdom of Maine’s native people, the Wabanacki, by engaging two leaders of the Penobscot Nation, Joe Polis and Joseph Attean, as guides. Not only did these relationships give Thoreau an enriched perspective of America’s Native peoples, it also granted him access to places and experiences that would not have been possible without the knowledge and resourcefulness of his Penobscot colleagues.
Today, the pages of “The Maine Woods” still live and breathe with Thoreau’s observations and reflections of the spectacular natural world he encountered in all its pure, primordial glory. The Penobscot River, Chesuncook Lake, the Allagash Waterway, Mooosehead Lake and Mount Katahdin were among the many inspiring places Thoreau experienced. And, of course, they’re all still here, virtually unchanged by time, waiting for new discovery.
In honor of the 150th anniversary of its publication, we highly recommend getting your own copy of “The Maine Woods.” We are also happy to offer the perfect companion piece to this epic book. We call it Maine. It may not exactly fit on a coffee table. But Maine will fit quite nicely into the heart, mind and soul of anyone who ventures into this rugged, romantic land. We also hear it’s a pretty darn good remedy for cabin fever.
To learn more about The Thoreau-Wabanaki 150th Anniversary Tour and all the great opportunities to experience Maine on your own guided tour, visit mainequarterly.com/thoreau.