On Walden Pond

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esterday a friend and I had all of Como Lake to ourselves as we paddled our canoe and shared con- fidences. It was a grey and chilly day and rain seemed

and spoken to both Mike and me over the short space of several hours.

I live in a loud, colorful, vibrant (some would say “crowded”) community. Every time I step out my door, I encounter someone, often many “some- ones” I know and we yell our greetings, express our mutual concerns, satisfactions and gratitude for the community we create together. The Irish Fair, the Jazz Festival, the Grand Oak Opry, the Pedal Pub and celebrations accompanied by fireworks, are the soundtrack of my neighborhood. Yet I am a seeker of solitude and deep quiet.

Odd to say, but, daily, I find what I am seeking. I make art out of a desire to know what I think, what I believe, what my eyes are seeing and calling out or embracing. I think many makers of art would tell you solitude and quiet are conditions of their work. It is in solitude and silence that I hear and see most clearly my relationship to the rest of the world. I struggle with a sense I am responsible to be visibly active toward all that I believe in, and with the On Walden Pond

imminent. The surface of the lake was unperturbed by wind and as we glided I smiled and thought, “… On Walden Pond, by Henry David Thoreau.” I arrived at the lake with a head full of aggravation regarding my world and my country. It was a day to speak of our very personal encounters with grief. As I talked and she listened — as she talked and I listened, I grew grateful for the quiet, the beauty and the company of a friend with whom I am safe sharing my sorrows as well as my silly and frightened self. When I opened Facebook today, the first post I encountered was artist Mike Hazard’s photograph “Weird Woods” ac- companied by a Thoreau quote: “The remembrance of my country spoils my walk.” I smiled to think the presence of Thoreau had cut through all the discord

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