Our Promiscuous Company

Henry David Thoreau could act like an old curmudgeon, even at the age of 42. He entered the following in his journal for September 16th, 1859:

I am invited to take some party of ladies or gentlemen on an excursion, – to walk, or sail, or the like, – but by all kinds of evasions I omit it, and I am thought to be rude or unaccommodating therefore. They do not consider that the wood-path and the boat are my studio, where I maintain a sacred solitude and cannot admit promiscuous company. 

What did he expect? After all, he claimed in his essay “Walking” that he intended to speak for wildness, so that his neighbors would become  better “citizens” of and “part and parcel” of Nature. True, the naturalist’s soul requires periods of silence and solitude in woods and prairies, in deep ravines and on windy ridges. However, insights are shared and friendships are forged on cranky Thoreau’s “wooded path,” and perhaps his solitude was at times not a choice but the result of his personality.

Today our first Autumn Saunter was brilliant, prodigal, and promiscuous. Nature lavished her blessings on our wandering band through savannas of contemplation and conversation, laughter and introspection. Our friend Jennifer snapped this photo along the way:

Monarch on thistle. (Jennifer Godfry)

Monarch on thistle. (Jennifer Godfrey)

And so we will continue saunter forth through autumn in the spirit of Thoreau (without his crankiness) using his “Walking” as our guide. New Tree School workshops and saunters are open to everyone who wants to indulge natural curiosity and the promiscuity of wildness that Thoreau encouraged but sometimes could not abide. Clink on Autumn Offerings for New Tree School dates and locations this fall.

Be wilder. Bring your friends.

Jack Phillips