Where is your Walden?


Katie Coen, Contributing Editor

On Wednesday, November 8th, members of the Chieftain Press went to see the premiere of Ken Burn’s newest documentary titled “Walden”. The 20 minute film, which was shown in the Robsham Theater Arts Center at Boston College, highlighted the life of Henry David Thoreau and the history behind the Walden, the iconic pond, located in Concord Massachusetts.

Henry David Thoreau, the author of “Civil Disobedience” and “Walden,” lived in a small house at Walden Pond for exactly 2 years, 2 months, and 2 days. Thoreau is still a famous and well-known essayist due to his writings being taught in schools across the world.

The panel of guests talked about and answered various questions, which ranged from the creative goal of the documentary to what Thoreau saw in this simple pond. The panel consisted of famous filmmaker Ken Burns, Don Henley, renowned recording artist and founder of The Walden Woods Project, and finally the Ewer Brothers, who founded Ewers Brothers Productions and who have worked with Ken Burns for 27 years.

When asked about the creative goal of the film, the panel explained that they wanted visitors to see Walden as a significant location. The “face value” will not bring anyone a deeper meaning of this location; it’s what you imagine and what you believe in is what shows how special it is. Henley then went on to say that Thoreau didn’t see a simple body of water, “He saw every leaf and every pine needle, instead of the forest as a whole”. “Thoreau was a keen observer,” said Burns in agreement.

“In 1990, [Don Henley] founded the Walden Woods Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the historic woods in Massachusetts where author/philosopher Henry David Thoreau first championed the concept of land conservation.  Henley has chaired the organization’s board of directors since its inception,” says the Walden Woods Project Official Website.

To Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond was home. The Walden Woods Project has since come up with the idea of “Where is your Walden?”, which is meant to encourage people to think of a place that made them feel comfortable, a place that is special. Your Walden may be your home, the beach, or wherever you feel the most at peace. At the new Welcome Center at Walden Pond, technology has been created to let their half a million visitors per year share where their Walden is, with some visiting from as far as Germany. This also allows the organization to find out where their visitors come from.

Consider visiting Walden Pond to see the brand new visitor center and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. If you would like to share “your Walden”, you can check out this website and complete the form.

Where’s Your Walden?