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Lives of Quiet Desperation

Our Daily Bread, July 23, 1989

Naturalist Henry David Thoreau is often noted for his statement that most men "live lives of quiet desperation." In an attempt to avoid that kind of existence, he lived alone from 1845 to 1847 in the woods of Walden Pond, Massachusetts. In 1854, he published his experiences in the book Walden. He wrote, "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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear…"