FENCES HALF CONSUMED

Inspired by Thoreau’s seminal essay Walking, this series portrays individuals who are attuned to what Thoreau called “the subtle magnetism in the natural world, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.”

Thoreau claimed that Walkers are born, not made; he recognized the soul of a Walker is one of an explorer, a seeker of freedom, even a crusader. The individuals seen here know their own souls well enough to spend time in places that are close approximations to wilderness, also seen here,  where they may be both nurtured and revitalized. Their treks through woods and meadows allow them to ruminate, as Thoreau did for so many decades as he wrote and re-wrote Walking.

Like Thoreau, these Walkers are radicals, “a people who would begin by burning fences” in order to let the forest stand.

(excerpt from Walking below images)

I saw fences half consumed, their ends lost in the middle of the prairie, and some worldly miser with a surveyor looking after his bounds, while heaven had taken place around him, and he did not see the angels going to and fro, but was looking for an old post-hole in the midst of paradise. I looked again, and saw him standing in the middle of a boggy Stygian fen, surrounded by devils, and he had found his bounds without a doubt, three little stones where a stake had been driven, and looking nearer, I saw that the Prince of Darkness was his surveyor.

- Henry David Thoreau, 1862

© 2017 Emily Hamilton Laux. All Rights Reserved.