On Independence Day 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved to a cabin on Walden Pond. Ralph Waldo Emerson owned some land near Concord, Massachusetts, and let Thoreau build a cabin there. He stayed for two years, two months, and two days.
This year on Independence Day (AKA the 4th of July), I was sitting in my backyard when I heard a robin carrying on quite loudly near me. I assumed it was a mother robin because there was a young robin hopping on the ground near me unable to fly. I suppose it could have been a father robin, but we always seem to assume it’s the mother protecting the young.
My neighbor, Frank, came out on his deck. “Is the robin over there?” he asked.
“Yeah. It can’t seem to fly,” I called back.
Turns out there were two young robins on the ground. We found their nest in a small tree between our yards. We both scooped up the young robins and Frank climbed up on a ladder to put them back in the nest.
The mother robin swooped down. Protecting her nest? No. She pushed those little ones right back out.
It was independence day in that nest. Ready or not, those kids were going to learn to fly.
In 1791 the first recorded use of the name “Independence Day” occurred. The day commemorated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Thoreau chose the day to start his attempt “to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
He was mostly independent but he wasn’t all that apart from civilization. The nest, Concord, was only a mile and a half away, and he often walked into town. He worked part time as a surveyor, and his mother usually sent him back to the cabin with some home cooking.
He stayed for a little more than two years and he kept a journal. A form of the journal writings were published a book, which he called Walden; or Life in the Woods, in 1854.
Sometimes you have to get thrown out of the nest. Even if someone is watching out for you nearby.