Saturday, June 26, 2004

A long way from Walden

I am reading Thoreau's Walden these days. Appropriately, as a test, I got locked out of my apartment for just over two hours today morning. As I sat outside my apartment, waiting for my roommate (Alex) to return and let me in, I wondered how dependent we have become on a shelter - something our ancestors used to stand under only when it rained or stormed. I can see some sense in the concept in places with extremes of climate. But does a man living off the coast of the Mediterranean need to ever stay within the confines of four walls? I then recalled these lines of Thoreau:
Most men never seem to have considered what is a house, and are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they must have a house such as the neighbor's.

As I reflected upon these lines and more, I privately laughed at the huge and garish mansions people built and still build for themselves. Soon I was galvanized enough to even consider starting a new life away from civilization, one with nature. But then my stomach started rumbling, and I remembered that there was some good chicken soup in the refrigerator. I was thankful when Alex returned after what seemed like an eternity. I didn't even come back to Thoreau until after I had gotten into my apartment, eaten well and was beginning to relax on my new mattress with my copy of Walden.

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