Day 89, October 24, 2016;
Thoreau’s “Hut”, Walden Pond
The Last 100 Days of the Presidency of Barack Obama
There is no “Hut.” The original house has been carried away to a museum. There is now a pile of stones to signify his absence. People gather them from the hillside near the pond, which is actually what we would now call a “lake”. Some of the white and gray stones have inked messages in English, Chinese and other languages Most appear to be good wishes to honor Thoreau’s memory. While I sit down on one of the bigger stones, my friend Owen and I strike up a conversation with a friendly, talkative, pretty South Korean woman. She is a final year law student at Harvard. She has just broken up with her boy friend of five years. “I am 36 and he still cannot commit. It was time to stop. It is very sad. I came out on the train to get away.”
As I continue to draw, one then another group of high school students gather around me. There are Asians, Blacks, Caucasians “Are you an artist? What are you drawing?” I explain. I show the other drawings in my binder. I give them my card.
They leave. In the now late afternoon yellow Fall light I imagine Thoreau, what he thought and wrote about the style of different conversations with visitors to his “hut”. If the talk was about the ordinary, they would stay inside. I was an argument with someone about public events, they would position themselves on each side of the pond. As they vented their passions, it was as if their voices were like skipping stones across the water. Unless Thoreau befriended a local Indian, I do not imagine he ever conversed with men and women of different colors and countries from all over the world. The wonderful mystery today is that the site of the “hut” continues to be a source for conversation.