You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Thoreau’ category.

Grassy Pond

“In the vaunted works of Art, The master-stroke is Nature’s part.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

The quote and photo above are among the first ones I used in designing a calendar for the Westford Conservation Trust. The photo is one I made with a ‘point and shoot’ digital camera — a Canon G1 — that is rated at 3.2 mega pixels. I love the photo – it was the cover on the 2006 calendar —  and it prints beautifully up to at least 11 X 14 — shows what a little God sent light can do! The quote is a favorite as well.

Tonight I’m giving a little presentation to the photography club I belong to on the calendar that I’ve designed and produced for the Trust for 2006 and 2007. It should be fun and a chance to discuss some of the adventures I’ve had doing this.

The calendar project, as we came to call it, enabled me to bring my interest in Nature, walking, Emerson and Thoreau, poetry and photography together.

Our calendar includes poetry for each month and information about the Trust and our conservation land and open space. Its been well received selling out 2 printings each year.

I’ll let you know how the presentation goes tomorrow.

Trail Marker

Photo: Trail Marker

Many times I ask myself “so — what is the meaning of life?”

This puts me in good company because many of the great thinkers believe that the question of meaning or purpose is the most important one. But its also a question that makes people wince and cringe. Isn’t it pretentious? Aren’t we just trying to impress when we pose this question? In my case – no — I’m really interested. What about you?

Some religions teach that the meaning of life, in part, is to know and love God (Catholic, Bahai). In fact Bahai’s are taught that God is the “unknowable essence” so to them the meaning of life is to know the unknowable.

Many great people believe that service to humanity is the purpose of existence. Emerson taught that each of us is part of what he called the Over-Soul. It is our job, he implied, to be a member in good standing of the Over-Soul.

Emerson also wrote that everything in Nature is a reflection of a truth that is more substantial than the physical reality of Nature itself. Thoreau was most at peace and at home in Nature, preferably by himself. Bahaullah, the founder of the Bahai faith, taught that the physical world is a reflection of what he called “the world of reality.” True meaning lies in that world, not this physical one.

Maybe the question “what is the meaning of life’ is too big and clumsy. A more managable one might be “where is meaning in life?” Does Nature provide inspiration and lead to some kind of meaning or is it just there? Or is it in people and our relationship with them that we should seek inspiration?

Where is meaning in your life? Do you think in such abstract terms? Do you think it is helpful to do so? Or is asking such a lofty question just thinking too much? Or is not asking it living ‘the unexamined life?’

What do you think?

Lichen near the House and barn on a very nice rock formation.

I noticed in HD’s blog (his journal now online — here: that he refered to ‘lettuce Lichen’ on January 8th, 1857.

I wonder if its the same lichen that Peter Severence pointed out to us on our walk in Graniteville Woods last fall. Peter told us that it was edible if boiled twice. I sent Peter a message asking him about it.

In any case the lichen is doing well this year, benefiting from wet and warm weather.

Here is what Henry wrote about the Lichen:

“I perceive that the livid lettuce-leaved lichen which I gathered the other day has dried almost an ash or satin, with no green about it,—has bleached.”

The lichen I see does look like lettuce and does dry out once plucked. I posted the photos you see here to give you a chance to opine as to whether this is Thoreau’s lichen or not. I like to think it is.

More lichen — this one is nice.

Lichen near the House and Barn.

Use of photos

Photos on this blog are copyright protected. Therefore, if you wish to use photos please make a donation in an amount of your choice. My PayPal email address is

Prints are available at Fine Art America

Or contact me directly.


Blog Stats

  • 296,881 hits

Categories Dropdown