April in New York City is usually very unpredictable. Heavy rains and bone-chilling winds alternating with bursts of sunshine, all within the same day, is a common phenomenon and a sign that spring is finally here. Especially after a year of lockdown when many of us have been isolated in our homes, being able to gather outdoors on stoops and park benches to experience trees frothing with young greenery and pink blossoms is a simple, yet very special freedom that makes us more fully alive. Wooded areas like Central Park remind us that nature is an essential part of life, prompting hasty city dwellers to slow down and contemplate. This experience brings to mind my first encounter with Henry David Thoreau’s Walden in high school, where his words about the humbling powers of comprehension resonated in my soul. He inspired me to "live deliberately," yet as a solitary life in a cabin lies beyond my abilities, I like to come to the park whenever I have a moment. 

Together with a beatifully cloth-bound pocket-sized copy of Walden, the SHOP offers several Thoreau-inspired items such as this handsome journal with a sage green cloth spine and delicately lined pages. Its interior features vintage drawings of Walden Pond, pages from Thoreau's own notebooks, and images of the dried plant samples that Thoreau collected. This notebook is ideal for meditations on simple living, woodland walks, or penning essays. This collection of 12 notecards and envelopes features the author’s enduring observations on nature, joy, and happiness.

The University of Southern California's Game Innovation Lab has even transformed Walden into an immersive video game, a medium that explores new possibilities for inspiration, reevaluating Thoreau’s personal experience of a sublime life via virtual reality

Thoreau wrote: “We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed, and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” This is hard to argue with. Nature is here for us to explore and if you're in New York City like me, take some time off to visit saucer magnolias that surround the Obelisk at Central Park. They are in full bloom—a delectable view and a smell not to be missed.

Posted by Aleks

SHOP BLOG is written by the sales associates of SHOP Cooper Hewitt, bringing their singular design expertise into the digital realm.



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