Artist: Tiago Sousa
Album: Walden Pond's Monk
Walden Pond’s Monk is a quietly crafted and affecting appreciation of Henry David Thoreau built mainly around Sousa’s understated and fluid approach to solo piano work, complemented by the clarinet of Ricardo Ribeiro and the percussion of Baltazar Molina – though it isn’t merely a hagiography. The choice of the word ‘Monk’ in the title is an intriguing one as it puts Thoreau’s place in the narrative of American Romanticism under a strange kind of tension. He’s at once a solitary figure, the chaste (it’s believed that Thoreau died a virgin) anchorite sequestered in his tangled idyll, minutely observing the unfolding drama of nature; yet there’s something more complex to his vigil and his reliance on the civilization that was in truth a short walk from his Walden hut. And the way Walden Pond’s Monk plays out seems to accentuate this tension and also play on the notion of Thoreau’s openness to the force of nature in all its harsh glory.
Read the rest of the review over at The Liminal.
Mountain*7 - for the person with nothing better to do
When the air is thick and the sky overcast, we need not walk so far. We give our attention to nearer objects, being less distracted from them. I take occasion to explore some near wood which my walks commonly overshoot.
What a difference it makes between two ravines in other respects exactly similar that in the one there is a stream which drains it, while the other is dry!
I see nowadays in various places the scattered feathers of robins, etc., where some hawk or beast of prey has torn them to pieces.
I step over the slip-noose which some woodling has just set. How long since men set snares for partridges and rabbits?
Ah, my friends, I know you better than you think, and love you better, too. The day after never, we will have an explanation.
Henry David Thoreau
The drifting white downy clouds are to the landsman what sails on the sea are to him that dwells by the shore,—objects of a large, diffusive interest. When the laborer lies on the grass or in the shade for rest, they do not much tax or weary his attention. They are unobtrusive. I have not heard that white clouds, like white houses, made any one’s eyes ache. They are the flitting sails in that ocean whose bound no man has visited. They are like all great themes, always at hand to be considered, or they float over us unregarded. Far away they float in the serene sky, the most inoffensive of objects, or, near and low, they smite us with their lightnings and deafen us with their thunder. We know no Ternate nor Tidore grand enough whither we can imagine them bound. There are many mare’s-tails to-day, if that is the name. What would a man learn by watching the clouds? The objects which go over our heads unobserved are vast and indefinite. Even those clouds which have the most distinct and interesting outlines are commonly below the zenith, somewhat low in the heavens, and seen on one side. They are among the most glorious objects in nature. A sky without clouds is a meadow without flowers, a sea without sails. Some days we have the mackerel fleet. But our devilishly industrious laborers rarely lie in the shade. How much better if they were to take their nooning like the Italians, relax and expand and never do any work in the middle of the day, enjoy a little Sabbath in the middle of the day.
From Henry David Thoreau's Journal - 24th June 1852