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As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Two Saturdays ago we were in need of a place to spend time reading and swimming. We knew we’d be fighting traffic if we drove to the beaches, and fighting for a space to lay a blanket once we got there. So we opted for Walden Pond, the very place Thoreau escaped to when he needed a bit of silence and solitude. The literary nerd in me was delighted (and yes, I did take my copy of Walden to read while there — it only seemed appropriate, and besides I have my favorite chapters I like to re-read from time to time). Thoreau was the first author I read on the necessity of silence and solitude for the health of the soul. After him there were the modern authors, Henri Nouwen and Dallas Willard.

It was a beautiful late summer day. We swam in the clear, warm water, ate our picnic lunch, and lounged about on our quilt. We’ve found that these day trips are necessary for our sanity. In order for us to keep living in the chaos of our neighborhood, for Joel to keep spending himself for these kids, we must be diligent in taking the time to be still.