My Own Walden

A few years ago, I had a co-worker who was forever being reprimanded for reading on the job. As his customers clamored for their Vegetable Alfredo’s and Pork Cutlet’s, he hid in the waiter’s lounge squinting at a tiny copy of Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden. Although Eric was continually warned, the manager never took the book away from him adding, “I’ve read it twice.” “Twice,” Eric echoed in awe. Always one for a challenge, I bought a copy of Walden and joined Eric in his rogue reading sessions, helping fulfill Thoreau’s prophecy that readers would “come to this page to spend borrowed or stolen time, robbing your creditors of an hour.”

John Muir and the Family Ranch in Martinez

John Muir was the prophet of a new order that looked to nature for guidance and inspiration. His legacy, along with creating national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia, was largely literary — the classics he left to posterity about the wonders of nature and its importance to mankind; indeed, to all life. That legacy, born and nurtured from sustained contact with nature, bore fruition during his life at the Strentzel ranch in Martinez.