Thoreau’s Concord: Bounded but Infinite

There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles' radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of a human life. It will never become quite familiar to you.

Henry David Thoreau spent a life time walking the landscape of Concord, keeping a journal that stretched to 14 volumes over a span of 24 years. In his essay, “Walking,” in many ways his credo, Thoreau offers an affirmation that became the motto of the Sierra Club: “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”   The quotation above, from the same essay, is an extraordinary expression of what it means to know and love a place, to abide in it and by it.

This is a Google Earth image of what I call my “Long Walk,” from Hillside (at the top) almost to Titus Mill Road at the bottom of the image. It’s nowhere near a ten-mile radius, but it is a three-hour walk through forest and abandoned farm fields that I am content to spend this lifetime getting to know. Most of it is owned and preserved by The Watershed Institute, some of it (the 1.4 mile Elks Preserve Trail, just across Crusher Road from Hillside) by the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FOHVOS).

Click here to see this map in Google Maps