Revisiting Henry David Thoreau’s WALDEN while sheltering in place

In 1845, a shy young man named Henry David Thoreau “went to the woods to live deliberately.” Using old boards from a nearby shanty, he and a few friends built a small cabin near Walden Pond in Concord, Mass. Determined to break a spell of writer’s block, he stayed there more than two years, trying to “suck out all the marrow of life.”

He was not always alone during this time, as some carping high school student will point out. But Thoreau’s experiment, immortalized in “Walden; or, Life in the Woods,” became the world’s most famous act of social distancing. Continue reading “Revisiting Henry David Thoreau’s WALDEN while sheltering in place”

How Long?

The Dow went up over 5 percent on Monday, virus cases seem to be peaking in some countries, and prognosticators are already saying the worst could be over for the U.S. economy soon.
–Dream on. First, on the public-health front, the U.S. has handled this crisis more ineptly and chaotically than any other nation. It will take months, not weeks, before the virus seriously subsides. There could very well be reductions in cases by summer, followed by new upsurges in the fall, as happened with the 1918 flu pandemic. Continue reading “How Long?”

Pale Horse Pale Rider


Pestilence (plague)

Four horsemen of the Apocalypse, in Christianity, the four horsemen who, according to the book of Revelation (6:1–8), appear with the opening of the seven seals that bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse. The first horseman rides a white horse, which scholars sometimes interpret to symbolize Christ; the second horseman rides a red horse and symbolizes war and bloodshed; the third rides a black horse and symbolizes famine; and the fourth horseman rides a pale horse and represents pestilence and death.