Monday, July 13, 2015

Thoreau’s Birthday

July 12, 2015
Hudson River,
South Glens Falls NY

I go to observe the lilies. …  
The pontederia is in its prime,
   alive with butterflies,
   yellow and others.
I see its tall blue spike reflected
   beneath the edges of the pads on each side,
pointing down to a heaven beneath
   as well as above.
HDT Journal, July 17, 1854

I wake to a clear sky on this warm summer morning.
My boat is already loaded on the car for a trip to the river.
It promises to be perfect weather for observing the birthday of a certain Mr. H. D. Thoreau.
On this Sunday, having the entire day at my disposal,
I could go anywhere.
Thoreau spent many happy hours on the rivers that run
right through his own little town,
and I decide that I would be happy doing the same.

With a shove, the little boat is floating free.

Now for the birthday celebration!

First ... to observe the lilies

And to check on our local specialties –
In the bay, Floating Bladderwort

And on the Hanging Garden Cliffs--

Kalm’s Lobelia

(The Grass of Parnassus is not blooming yet)

Some guests have begun to arrive

There are birthday candles

LOTS of them (for you were born many many years ago, Mr. T)

The birthday candles are lit with care

And there’s confetti everywhere !

Some things here also grow
along your beloved Concord River,
things more precious than silver or gold

Silver Maple

Golden Hedge Hyssop

Lastly, a card made from something that was floating in the cool shallows (thanks for the idea, Sophia!)

Would that I could tell you directly, my hero –
You’ve inspired not just me,
but many others around the world
to learn about this beautiful world of ours,
and to look after it in some small way,
with the hope that others may be able to do the same,
many many years from now.


  1. What a lovely birthday tribute. Henry would love it, as did I. How I long to be back on the river, and your gorgeous photos take me there.