I am a sojourner in civilized life. But today I am thinking of the day we stepped onto the curved and narrow path around that pond, seeking the way where silence and song are one and the same, where simple beauty outstrips ornate, where all is love and love is all, where beams of sunlight stream through the trees in hues arrived from another world, tints which are tinctures which heal wounded souls.

Leaves for WoW post
Autumn leaves at Walden Pond

A man collects trash around these peaceful waters, an admirable enterprise requiring no new clothes. But he is not calm, not joyful at his labors, and he stabs at the trash with anger, not blissful, not wishful, far from finding the higher ground at the end of his path. I pray he finds the proper prayer to chant each day, the words, the song, the holy hum, the soothing thrum to overcome his desperation.

It is written that the only remedy for love is to love even more.

But who would need such a cure, I wonder, who would feel afflicted? I catch you in my gaze, hold love softly in my hand, and here by the waters of Walden I lay down and weep, softly from joy, and here we have found the fire of love, and we are warmed by its heat and guided by its light as we walk around this pond and find our way down this path which is lit a thousand times by a thousand rays of sun.

Red leaves against water for WoW
Red leaves at Walden

Simplify. The waters are calm. The sun shines off the water. Ducks swim in a row. People stroll all in a row. You find a lady’s slipper tucked into a shaded glade. We see red leaves against a blue sky. Woods surround the pond. A slight breeze. Simple.  And we are simply here.

Mallard for WoW post
A duck -- perhaps a mallard -- at Walden

But what if the ducks swam out of sight, then flew away? What if rough winds roiled the water? What if the lady’s slippers did not fit the lady’s feet? What if the blue sky turned to black? What if all the people all in a row scattered in all directions? What if lumberjacks cut down the woods? What if that winding path suddenly slithered away like a snake? What if the pond drained and dried? What if a thousand beams of sun dimmed to darkness one by one?

Yellow leaves for WoW

Then I would front only the essential facts of life, to see if I learned what it had to teach, whether I had managed to learn these truths so I would not come to die and find that I had not lived. And I would know I had learned these truths, had learned the chant, the whispered prayer: I glory in the glow of the light of love’s bright fire and know that its flames will keep us always warm.


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