Still waters run deep…Then in the late summer of 1847 Emerson himself decided to go abroad for the winter for a lecture tour arranged by his English friends. Mrs. Emerson was in poor health, and the children were too young to travel. Emerson was worried about leaving them alone, but she quickly proposed a solution, suggesting that Thoreau be invited to join them for the winter. His presence would not inconvenience them in the least, for he required no ceremony, and it would assure her husband that his family had the protection and assistance he felt they needed. Emerson quickly agreed to her suggestion, and Thoreau readily accepted their joint invitation.
And so it was that Thoreau left the pond, on September 6,1847, exactly two years, two months, and two days after he had moved in. He explained in the pages of Walden:
I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so help ed to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!
But in the confidence of his Journal he later confessed:
why I left the woods? I do not think that I can tell. I have often wished myself back. I do not know any better how I ever came to go there. Perhaps it is none of my business, even if it is yours. Perhaps I wanted a change. There was a little stagnation, it may be. About 2 o’clock in the afternoon the world’s axle creaked as if it needed greasing, as if the oxen labored with the wain and could hardly get their load over the ridge of the day. Perhaps if I lived there much longer, I might live there forever. One would think twice before he accepted heaven on such terms.