In his continued fall through the vortices of time, quotes from authors he’d known and respected became crystal clear. Daniel knew Walden…
I went to the woods because I wished 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.
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
1997, the year of the change, burst into his mind. With his family he was on holiday, visiting friends in Boston, Massachusetts. Towards the end of the trip, they travelled to Walden Pond in Concord. Water surrounded by woods. April light. No leaves. The trees stirring out of winter. Acres of them. Many young and slender, encircling the lake. Daniel was captivated. A magical place.
Henry David Thoreau had lived there in solitude for two years. They visited a replica of his hut. His shed. Barely room for a single bed and a tiny table. Here Thoreau experienced all of nature the present had to offer him. Daniel was in awe of the fact that Thoreau had spent hundreds of days there, alone, simply reflecting on the passing of sun and moon and what the moment means for the rest of us.
To have taken the time, patiently, to describe, to attune to the whole of nature around him, Thoreau’s commitment had overwhelmed Daniel. He asked himself, ‘What have I done about my concern for the planet? What have I done to counter Man’s reckless disregard for the environment? Where is my sense of profound connection to all nature?’
While at Walden Pond he’d bought a book in aid of Walden woods, entitled ‘Heaven is Under our Feet’ edited by Don Henley and Dave Marsh. The flyleaf described how the Walden Woods Project came to fight off building and development on the Woods. The book was dedicated:
‘To all those who love and respect the land, the air, the water, and all the creatures who dwell therein’.
Daniel had written:
‘Our experience and understanding of nature is inextricably linked to who we are, to our entire being, to what we believe.’
Born on April 21, 1838 John Muir a naturalist, inventor, explorer, writer, and founder of the Sierra Club, was inspired by the writings of Henry Thoreau, and Walden…and he wrote
‘When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
The battle for conservation will go on endlessly. It is part of the universal battle between right and wrong.’
Similarly, Satish Kumar, an Indian British activist and speaker, Jain monk, nuclear disarmament advocate and pacifist and founder of Resurgence magazine, wrote the following about his relationship with nature…
‘I walk in Nature, not as an escape from the strain and stress of urban life, not for entertainment or sightseeing, not even as a scientist looking at Nature as an object of study. I go in Nature as a pilgrim for the renewal of my spirit. Walking in Nature is my meditation and my prayer.
The magnificent trees and majestic hills are my temples and cathedrals. I don’t look above the sky to seek heaven; my heaven is here on Earth. Being one with Nature, I am enchanted and enlightened.’
He also wrote:
‘Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism hold a spiritual view of nature. They believe in the unity of all life; human and non-human life are made of the same existential reality, we are all connected, we are all related, there is no separation, there is no dualism. The American Indians, the aboriginal culture of Australia and other indigenous traditions have a similar world view: Nature does not belong to humans, humans belong to Nature, humans are Nature, there is no distinction.’
‘GreenSpirit – Path to a new consciousness’, Foreword by Satish Kumar
Back in England, Daniel bought tulips…
Tulips. A perfect bunch of tulips. A rainbow of tulips for the vase. After a week, instead of being upright, turgid, they have strayed, launched themselves in every direction, woven different shapes, shrivelled, faded, intriguing the artist’s pencil and brush, the water turning green.
 ‘Heaven is Under our Feet / A Book for Walden Woods’, edited by Don Henley and Dave Marsh, published by Longmeadow Press.