A stone on the cairn at Thoreau's house site at Walden Pond

I decided to make one of my semi-regular pilgrimages to Walden Pond this afternoon.

When I got to the site of Thoreau’s house, I found myself looking over the cairn of stones that’s grown near it. The tradition, as I recall, started some years after his death. As devotees made the pilgrimage to the site, they began a pile of stones taken from the pond to mark the place.

I put my own there many years ago now, when I went with a couple of high school classmates. We had all read Walden for the first time, and it struck a chord with me that still resonates all these years later. It’s under there somewhere.

Some of the stones have writing on them – initials and a date; one was from the Adirondack Writers Club; and then there was the one pictured here, a wonderful piece of whimsy.

What kind of president would old Henry David have made? Imagine a president who loathed politicians, and despised institutions of any kind, who believed “that government governs best which governs least.”

Would we see him at a Tea Party rally? What would he have to say about Sarah Palin?

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