My thoughts about Walden got sidetracked yesterday by the stone I saw in the cairn near where Thoreau’s house stood.

The water in the pond is the highest I’ve seen it in a long time. The beach at the swimming area is completely underwater, and so is the boat ramp. The path around the pond is closed. The shorter path to the house site is cut off … the footbridge is underwater. Taking the long way around is a pleasant diversion.

A red-tailed hawk swooped down crossing the trail just in front of me. Maybe there’s a nest nearby, but I couldn’t spot one. Thoreau would have found it, and climbed the tree to look in.

There was a fisherman in the small cove in front of the house site. He was hip-deep with waders on. We traded pleasantries.

I looked around at the trees – mostly white pine, a few oak. Only a couple looked like they might have been around during Thoreau’s time. If they were, they would have just been saplings.

A steady stream of people made their way to the site while I was there, a testament to the iconic book and author. One group was disappointed when they got to the site. They were mostly college-age.

I was sitting on a rock nearby, not meaning to eavesdrop, but I picked up some of their comments.

It wasn’t as pretty as they expected. They were surprised there wasn’t more of a view of the pond. They were also expecting to see the “remains” of the house.

There aren’t any, of course, just some granite pillars marking the outline of where it stood.

“All this way for nothing, “ someone remarked.