Walden is a pond, a book, and a company. The latter two, needless to say, bear their name from the kettle hole situated fewer than 20 minutes from our office. Walden, the novel by Henry David Thoreau, is understandably named such, considering its author spent two years living at the pond, and subsequently wrote a book about his experience. This book, which has since become an American classic, is intimately linked with the culture of New England and a burgeoning sense of environmentalism which was concomitant with the rise of Transcendentalism among writers such as Thoreau, Emerson, and Alcott. Thoreau’s decision, then, to name his novel after the pond makes sense: he loved Walden, and his resolve to “leave the woods,” although making many readers dubious of the extent to which Thoreau actually enjoyed his time at Walden, was rife with ambivalence, and a profound sadness that can only follow the ending of an era. Thoreau’s era, as a liminal man, caught between the bustling city of life mid-nineteenth century Concord, and the solitude of Walden Pond, in many ways, ended with Thoreau.
More people live in cities today than ever before. Our connection with nature is often confined to walking a longish distance from our cars when we show up late to virtually any event worth going to; and even then, we never leave the parking lot. Simply put, the vast majority of us are not able to find the happy medium that Thoreau did, i.e., he wasn’t a troglodyte, fighting for his life in the woods, and he wasn’t a normal citizen, going through the automatic and quotidian motions of what living in a society can often feel like.
There are ways, however, to remain in closer contact with nature. I like to think that being part of Walden (the company) is one. By the nature of living in a city or a suburb, the distance between the food we eat and our homes has grown exponentially. Blame whoever you want for this. Blame whichever people or corporations that might fit the bill, but know that blaming won’t do anything. Doing something will. Each month, by making the conscious effort to purchase at least some of your meat with Walden, you help minimize the distance that your food has to travel to reach your home. Think of Walden as an intermediary, a bridge between you and local farmers, allowing you to walk the line, much like Thoreau did, between city-life and nature.