And yet, Henry David sought escape from the hustle of everyday life, sought the refuge of the wild and natural world for solace, for the reflection of his own soul. His words, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world,” might have been written for today. In fact today, we need to remember those words more than ever precisely because our world has gotten so much busier, so much nosier, so much faster than it was in the days when Thoreau wandered alongside the banks of Walden Pond.
We have disconnected from the wildness of the world. Thinking, wrongly, that we have conquered nature we divorce ourselves from it. If Henry David were here, I believe he’d tell us we are making a devastating mistake. We are nature. It is in our bones, in our blood. We cannot cut ourselves off from the natural world and survive.
The dunes of Cape Cod, the canyons of Utah, the green hills of Cumberland Gap, are more than just pretty places to take selfies. They are our refuge, the place where we can find solace, the reflection of our beautiful and immortal souls. Let’s listen to Thoreau. Let’s preserve these wild places. Because in preserving them, we preserve the world.