Burton Coon Blog

Blog Post #15: 2019 Aug 1~ “The Old Camp”

What are your memories of a summer morning and “the old camp”?

“I’m all packed up, ready to go.”

Coon, Burton “The Old Camp”.
Thoreau’s Cove, Lake Walden, Concord, Massachusetts
“From The New York Public Library”

Summer Morning

“Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me” (Thoreau 84).

Thoreau, H. (2008). Walden. New York: Fall River Press.

I am an early riser especially in the Summer. I hurry to begin my walk as if I might be late for a meeting with Mother Nature. Viewing a chipmunk scurrying to plunge down a drainpipe before I get too close, a squirrel eating Doritos from a discarded chip bag- a treasure he has found in a trash can, a red fox walking up a driveway as if he will shortly be ringing the doorbell, a family of deer proceeding down a neighborhood road are all sights that I will miss if I delay too long past sunrise.

Since the relatively cool morning frequently now marks the beginning of a day where the temperature rises to between eighty and ninety degrees by midday, I remain outside to eat breakfast and tend to the garden. Once the temperature and humidity become uncomfortable later in the morning, I head home for a different source of inspiration- that derived from literature and history. As I have revisited Walden many times, I listen to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden for a few minutes.

Thoreau’s Hut at Walden Pond “From the New York Public Library”

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself. I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks… Morning brings back the heroic ages” (Thoreau 83).

Thoreau, H. (2008). Walden. New York: Fall River Press.

That desire to experience ‘innocence’ found within ‘Nature herself’ inspires me and inspired my ancestor Burton Coon, who was first and foremost a farmer. He was a farmer who trudged in from the fields each day for nourishment of the body and the soul. While he rested his body, his thoughts soared.

“The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive” (Thoreau 84-85).

Thoreau, H. (2008). Walden. New York: Fall River Press.

Burton Coon was ‘awake’ and ‘alive’ when he wrote “The Old Camp” for the Rhinebeck Gazette in the first half of the 20th century.

Note: “The Old Camp” is displayed here in Burton Coon’s scrapbook. You may notice part of another article as well as parts of the words that were in the original text that he used as a scrapbook.

Perhaps tomorrow we can all experience “rosy-fingered Dawn” as Odysseus, “a Dawn in me” as Thoreau, and “watch the sun pick up the dew drops in the morning” as Burton Coon.

“For are we not all campers?”

Coon, Burton, “The Old Camp”.

Published by Bonnie Wood

Local History Writer & Website Designer

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