Hawaii Five-O Episode Compelled Me To Buy Copy Of Thoreau's Walden

In college I recall being turned-off when studying Henry David Thoreau. While I, like all people, have many conflicting impulses, maybe my strongest impulse is against someone separating himself from the whole.

I feel this way despite a strong wariness of the will of the political majority, however it may be defined at any given moment, and despite the atomistic bent of my solid 1980’s Midwestern hardcore punk rock credentials. 

Last week I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-O for the first time in many years. In this episode, top cop Steve McGarrett was asked to test some sort of telephone snooping device. McGarrett said into the phone, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

This spoke to me. I’d heard it before—But for whatever reason it resonated with me very much on this one particular afternoon. I knew the quote was from Thoreau’s Walden.

So today I bought a copy of Thoreau. We’ll see if he reaches me or if my Andrew Jackson “of the people” impulses exert too strong a pull. 


0 Responses

  1. How nice to be reminded of that quote! We, poets, hold Thoreau in high regard for his ability to do exceedingly well what all poetic writing should do: perplex and enlighten in a single phrase. Poetry doesn’t tell; it leads.

    Poets also honor Thoreau for knowing the value of spending time apart from the world in order to allow our hearts to hear our inner voice/our different drummer. That distinct inspiration is what creative people call their muse, and what others call ambition or passion.

    To hear our muse, we don’t all have to adopt civil disobedience or become hermits; we can take a few minutes of Walden for ourselves every day. Try it!

  2. I’ve been remiss in not thanking this reader for her nice comment. Thank you and please keep reading the blog.

    Just a few minutes a day for any purpose can indeed make a difference. All time has value.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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