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Posts Tagged ‘Henry David Thoreau’

Have you ever had the experience where a film, a novel, a piece of music, or a painting triggered a momentous effect in your life? Did it change the way you think? Did it change you? For Robert Kennedy, the existential literary works of Albert Camus changed his viewpoints on capital punishment. For Jackson Pollock, the psychoanalytical writings of Carl Jung influenced the painter to create a new style later termed abstract expressionism. For me, Walden, by Henry David Thoreau opened up a world guided in the ideas of simplicity and spirituality found in nature. “Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows, and take up a little life into our pores. Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor, but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.” – Walden, Henry David Thoreau

As a child, I always loved playing in the woods and going for hikes, but until I read Walden, I did not truly appreciate and see the beauty of nature and what it has to offer. A forest, a pond, a meadow serve as places of refuge. Here in these natural spaces, one can slow down and listen to their inner self. One can gather thoughts, meditate, or simply just take in the sights and sounds that surround them. For me, the natural world is a place where I can rejuvenate, heal, pray, and find answers. Ironically in the reclusive act of a solitary hike, I find myself loving humanity more through the discovery of the natural world.

Walden has left a strong, indescribable presence which lingers in the depths of my subconscious. It surfaces from time to time and when it does, it consciously and subconsciously leads me to my Walden Pond.

So how does this reflection relate to films? Well, it doesn’t. But I did this for a reason. After quietly observing the sun rise and cast its rays between tall Sycamores and flowering Oak trees, I felt a need to voice my appreciation and concern. Across the world societies are forgetting that there is nothing more beautiful and wondrous than nature. Children are becoming isolated from the natural world and are lacking exposure to its wonders. Yes, one can see a film where there is a gorgeous scene of a waterfall in a South American jungle or a distant snow capped mountain in Nepal but that hardly compares to the real thing.

However, films can inspire us to actively seek that place of beauty. Last week, Angela discussed how the film A Month by the Lake inspired her to see the luminous views of Lake Como. Although Walden will always serve as my guide and source of inspiration, I have found some foreign films that capture exquisite and stunning scenes of natural spaces that encourage me to go and visit.

La Belle Noiseuse, Claire’s Knee, Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle, and To Be and To Have – Four films that portray the whimsical French countryside.

The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, and The Passion Anna – Three Ingmar Bergman films, where scenes of high coastal cliffs and flat desolate landscapes reflect the character’s personas.

Aguirre: The Wraith of God – Werner Herzog’s odyssey through the ancient Peruvian mountains.

This week, instead of suggesting a film to see, I suggest you go out and visit some natural places that inspire you!
“You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.”- Walden, Henry David Thoreau

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