“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”
– Henry David Thoreau
“I go to the roof deck with a light heart, open mind, and an economy-size can of spray-on sunscreen.”
– John McCaffrey
In the spirit of Henry David Thoreau and his great experiment to live alone in the woods, an experience captured in the iconic “Walden” published in 1854, John McCaffrey, a man consumed with the same desire to shed material possessions and pulls and live as naturally as possible, has ensconced himself on an isolated roof deck in a hot, hard City. His goal is to live alone on the roof the entire summer, his only companions being potted vegetable plants, a trough of basil, parsley and mint, a leaky garden hose, and a bird feeder. Here is his first diary entry from this experience:
July 11, 2012
The past night was gratefully cooler. The heat over the past week has been unbearable. I water the plants excessively, and myself as well, but none of us are doing well. The only living thing on the deck that seems to thrive in the hot temperature is a pair of mourning doves. I sincerely believe them to be a committed couple, as they always fly in together at sunrise, and often they will click their beaks together, both in affection and anger. They seem to have a fondness for the parsley, which they like to peck and tear the leaves. While I have yet to reach out to them in anyway, preferring to sit still and watch their antics while I guzzle from the hose, I might indeed try to make contact soon. If only I had brought suet to go along with the corn feed, I’m sure we could be friends.