Friday, October 17, 2014

Thhooorreeaaauuuu! Thoreau's Last Walk, by Aidan Bond

Thoreau, a man of solitude, is not one who can easily translate from isolation into an environment filled with sociable, conversation-seeking teenagers. Although his first case of contact was perceived as friendly, slowly but surely, things took a turn for the worse. Philosophical conversations were great, temporarily that is, until the best questions ran out. When conversations became too complex, students slowly became distracted. They lost pace, falling behind as well as running ahead, leaving few for Thoreau to lecture on transcendentalism. Listening to Bobby Shmurda proved to be a much more popular pastime, as a result of the poor attempts to ban any and all technology from the hike. In teenager terms, anything that violates the rules is instantaneously cool, whereas a historical figure, in many ways, is seen as lame.
At any rate, as a result of various distractions in play, Thoreau’s group thinned down. It became a more defined and relentless group of followers. They were not simply interested in his ideology, but the sheer reality of Thoreau’s existence is what excited these super fans. In attempting to evade this painful experience, Thoreau came into contact with others from outside his miniature mob. He only managed to express a few words at a time, that is, before he would be cut off by overwhelming laughter, despite the lack of a genuinely comical statement. All of this resulted in an obvious realization: Thoreau needed to escape, and he was going to have to do it quickly. At certain moments along his path there were check-ins, at which large crowds amassed. At the largest gathering he pretended there was too much noise for him to hear, and he unheedingly walked ahead of his companions. He quickly slipped through the crowd, all the way to the front, and hurried along the trail until he was safely out of sight. Only a few minutes passed until his anxious friends caught up to him, out of breath, concerned over his disappearance. This surprise escalated the situation greatly, and so Thoreau stayed almost silent, giving short, relatively painless answers, until he arrived at another opportunity. An agitated swarm of wasps were swirling in the middle of his path. There were hundreds flying about, and many more crawling all over and around their disturbed hive. Thoreau, without hesitation, leaped straight through this extremely dangerous path, kicking dirt at the hive, and screaming like a lunatic in the hopes of further discouraging any attempt to follow him. Surely it would take a complete idiot to take such a risk, seeing as there was an alternative route, shortened in length, created specifically to avoid the wasps.
Despite the odds, as he was inspecting himself for stings, he was interrupted by a high-pitched scream, “Thhooorrreeaaauuuu!” followed by an abundance of heavy, fasted paced footsteps. His closest friends had risked the chance of injury for yet another opportunity to drive Thoreau further into desperation. And so the remainder of his arduous journey was filled with stories of bravery and valor. Or as he saw it, stories of the idiots who ran through a swarm of wasps, in order to follow someone who wanted to be alone.

Eventually he surrendered to his fate. He had decided to be happy, at least, for those he spared from suffering the same fate, had he not been there. Those who will never know of, let alone appreciate the great deed he carried out that day. At the end of the day, however, he would’ve much preferred avoiding this experience altogether, and being Thoreau, it’s not something he’s likely to risk experiencing twice. He most likely will never take a walk through the woods again.

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