Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Getting Walden-ish…

Ever want to retreat to the woods to commune with nature and write in peace? The bustle and hustle of modern life not quite as charming amidst all the phone calls, computers, and honking car horns? But you need to make a living, so how do you remedy the needs of your soul and the needs of your pocketbook?

With spring approaching tomorrow I’ve begun preparing my garden in the backyard. It takes a lot of work, but I’ve found the digging in the dirt and listening to the sparrows to be quite refreshing. No matter how hectic my workday, I can retreat to my yard for the last hour of sunlight each afternoon and take in the things that really matter. Sunsets. Tree blossoms. Birdcalls. Green, growing things. Earthworms.

You may think me a bit odd for getting Thoreau or Walden-ish, but I find my little patch of earth in the back yard to be a liberating piece of heaven each afternoon. Perhaps a few of you have a Walden inside you that you’re waiting to discover this spring? How do you compromise between the demands of modern life and the call of your outdoor soul?


  1. Nature is a big part of who I am, too. I spend a lot of time at the beach. I'm a true islander at heart. : )

  2. I love being outdoors, which is why I prefer to live in the south where I can enjoy it year round.

    I hate earthworms, though. Yuck!

  3. I am just like you...and I don't even have a garden. Yet I go to a green spot and try listening to the sounds of nature...just this morning the trees were filled with chirpy little birds at 6:30 and I stood there with the kitties, the three of us going SIGHHHH...

  4. I can just picture you scribbling away in your patch of green :) I sit in the balcony facing a tree where monkeys play, birds peck at the berries and different kinds of insects buzz around. I usually think when I sit in that chair, I can never write as the tree is a big distraction.

    Mark, hope you got my email.

  5. Hello Mark:
    In all the years during which we gardened, interspersed with other things including the writing of some 11 gardening books, we always found that time spent physically working in the garden was amongst the most therapeutic and the place in which new ideas were so often generated or old ones mulled over.

    So, we do understand what you are saying here.

  6. Somehow, I don' get that same peace when mowing the lawn...

  7. Good for you for having a garden! Maybe someday. Though I fear everything would die.

    I do very much enjoy sitting on my balcony and overlooking the golf course, especially at dusk when there are no golfers left. Very, very peaceful.

  8. I have big gardening plans as well... Now if I can just get things to actually grow. :)

  9. I do admire you for having your little garden. I couldn't even keep a bulb alive that my daughter brought home from nursery! I do enjoy nature, though. A nice walk is refreshing and can help work out plot issues, though I don't get much chance to these days.

  10. I did a big backyard makeover last year. Planted a new flower garden and invested in some "real" patio furniture. It's my favorite place to go sit and write in the summer. :)

  11. I have a lovely side garden but no time anymore to really tend it. Fortunately, it's perennial, so as long as I water it and clear out the old plants, it keeps coming back. I love sitting out there, but I wish I could write while there, but the glare on my laptop is too much. lol

  12. It sounds like a nice place to retreat to. :)

  13. Despite my allergies this time of year, I'm all for getting Walden-ish. My grandparents own a cottage on Sebec Lake in Maine, and I try to get out there every summer for at least a week.

  14. I love gardens but loathe gardening. I like to sit outside in the long grass in the Summer, it's not the same once I cut it!

  15. Emily – Good to hear! I’m something of an islander myself:)

    Miranda – Got to love the outdoors! Earthworms, they’re harmless though:)

    LittleJeans – Sound tranquil Glad you have a place that you can commune.

    Rachna – Yup, got your email and replied. Cool that you have monkeys where you are:)

    Jane/Lance – That’s right you wrote gardening books…then I suppose I’m preaching to the choir here:)

    Alex – Lol. Are you not the outdoor type? ;)

    Kelley – Oddly enough I like golf courses when no one is on them. Not much of a golfer though.

    Hektor – Lots of tender care and love, that’s my secret. And some fertilizer;)

    Nick – A good walk in nature will do the job just as well, good for you!

    L.G. – Glad you’ve got a neat little nook:)

    Donna – Yeah, the outdoors can be a bit anti-technology. But there’s always pen and paper.

    Eagle – It is indeed!

    Milo – I’m jealous, I’d totally love to hang out in a place like that in Maine. Very cool.

    Sarah – Yup, it’s a fire hazard, but I love the look and feel of long grass. Especially when you can hide in it.