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Viewfinder: Eastern University

A Mini-Walden in Radnor Township.

Last month, I introduced an occasional series on  --- “places, experiences or rituals that help us see our lives with a little more clarity because they simplify life.” For the second installment, I thought I’d go back to the place where I was first introduced to the idea by a professor and which has become, over the years, my favorite home away from home... in St. Davids.

In fact, I not only heard the concept of “Mini Waldens” there, but I read Thoreau’s classic sitting by one of the ponds. The pond became so closely knit in my mind to Thoreau’s Walden Pond, that when I saw the real Walden...I was disappointed.

I’ve gone to Eastern for many years and in every season, and summer is the time when you can really be alone there. When the students are gone, the days are hot and humid, and so many locals are on vacation, there are nights when you can walk through the campus or sit by the ponds, and not see a soul, provided there are no camps or retreats in session. 

The campus, once a former estate, is dominated by three ponds, and there are small wooded areas and paths winding around them. Until recently, a rustic cabin stood near the banks of one of the ponds. Sadly, it was torn down. 

I’ve taken literally thousands of photos there, and I could have drawn from them for this gallery. But, for today, I thought it would be interesting to take a photo walk through the campus, seeking places that are more off the beaten path, more woodsy, and show places to walk and sit in solitude and give a sense of the beauty and even wildness of some areas. Photos taken on the fly like that are not always photographic gems, but I think the spontaneity is more natural and gives you a better sense of what it's like to walk in an unbroken path, stopping every now and then to sit or take in the summer afternoon.

I hope you get a chance to visit the campus, wander the paths or sit by a pond. Until that day arrives, take a walk with me...

DeWitt Henry September 30, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Dear Bill, I loved this series on the former Walton's estate. I don't know if you saw my posting, "Episodes from a Wayne Childhood: Walton's," but if you have a photo I could use (for my book) of the Walton's waterwheel, spillway, and mill, please let me know. Thanks, DeWitt Henry

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