Essential Reading: Henry David Thoreau on the Best Summer Ever

Every summer, millions of kids bunk in cabins, kindle campfires, and enjoy the great outdoors for a month or two—at least until mom comes to pick them up. But on Independence Day, 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a homemade summer camp at Walden Pond, and never went home again.

Fast forward to 1852. Nothing memorable happened to Thoreau that summer, spent living in his cabin on Walden Pond. Nevertheless, he meticulously recorded every detail in his journal: the news of the day, the timing of floral blooms—even the color of the dirt. As the first days of June passed, these mundane events—from the arrival of visitors to a "unique walk" on a mountain—took on monumental significance, if only because Thoreau had the good sense to notice them. Years later, his journal still remains, and that short vernal chronicle serves as a helpful reminder, teaching the lessons that every bored kid has to relearn each summer: to stop and smell the roses.

"The moving clouds are the drama of moonlight nights and never-failing entertainment for nightly travelers. You can never foretell the fate of the moon--whether she will prevail over or be obscured by clouds half an hour hence. The traveler's sympathy with the moon makes the drama of the shifting clouds interesting. The fate of the moon will disappoint all expectations." - June 2, 1852

You can read more extracts from Thoreau's journal here.

- Zach Maher

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