With the permission of a wealthy friend Henry David Thoreau began an experiment living in the woods of Boson, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1851. Thoreau used and ax to clear some land and get scrub wood to construct a lean-to shelter. He drew water from near by Candle Holder Pond and went fishing at Handle Colder Pond over the hill. He said he wanted to simplify his life and get away from the incessant chatter of the large houses of the towns and villages. He especially wanted to ‘get away from the endless chatter of women about laundry and baking bread and cleaning the house.’
Thoreau had had enough.
He went to live in the woods.
Critics and readers find ‘Walled-In Pond’ a little more slapstick that Thoreau’s more mature works. The ‘Stubbed My Toe’ chapter where Thoreau almost hacks his foot off while chopping wood with a dull axe is a favorite of many. When he is chased up a tree by two hunting dogs and a neighboring farmer readers get an explanation of why Thoreau was against some forms of private property rights enforcement. But, no one gets hurt and the reader gets a chuckle while learning about land claims in Boson, Massachusetts in 1851.
But, sadly, he only stayed in the Boson woods and scrub land for two months. He said he missed the bread after he got tired of a steady diet of fresh water fish. He also needed to get his laundry done. Thoreau wrote up and article about how liberating it was for an upper class man of letters to get back to nature. The work was so well received that Thoreau repeated the ‘experiment’ at Walden Pond in Lexington, Massachusetts, the following year. He was planning to create a whole ‘universe’ of Living In The Woods books by going to different states and living in the wild for a while – but his life was cut short by tuberculosis which he did not catch out in the woods with the squirrels but probably in one of the big townhouses he hated so much.