"In the spring I burned over a hundred acres till the earth was sere and black, and by midsummer this space was clad in a fresher and more luxuriant green than the surrounding even. Shall man then despair? Is he not a sprout-land too, after never so many searings and witherings? If you witness growth and luxuriance, it is all the same as if you grew luxuriantly."

- Henry David Thoreau, from his journals

I recently read on History.com that about a year before moving into the house in Walden woods, a 26-year-old Thoreau and a friend lit a fire to cook fish they had caught but sparks ended up igniting the surroundings and burned hundreds of acres, oops! Eventually they were able to put out the flames with the help of neighbors. But as it turned out yes, the fire made the land fertile.

If you'd like to keep your own set of matches or special seeds or nature mementos inside this beautiful Walden edition, go here.

  • April 18, 2020
  • Kara Witham