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Why Gilbert Byron Really Came to St. Michaels by Jacques Baker

Most people who are familiar w ith the writings of Gilbert Byron (1903-1991) are aware that he shares a July 12th birth date with Henry David Thoreau. His readers may also know that, Thoreau-like, Byron lived alone about two unpaved miles from St. Michaels in near isolation in his small self-built house near San Domingo Creek. What may or may not be as well k now n, howe ver, i s t h at w h i le T h or e au l i v e d i n h i s “ r e l at i v e solitude” by Walden Pond for two years, two months and two days, Byron lived and wrote alone by Old House Cove for nearly 45 years. He w rote and spoke f requent ly a nd publicly about his rea sons for c omi ng t here: rea sons t hat changed little over the years and t y pically focused on “seek ing a broader margin for my life,” or the need to concentrate totally on his writing. From notes prepared for a talk on Rober t Frost’s poetr y about four years after his arrival, Byron summarizes his reasons for coming to and remaining by his cove. These explanations, often repeated by Byron over the years, however,

Gilbert Byron are neither personal nor satisfying ~ nor are they entirely accurate. ...I suppose a few folks must have wondered why anyone, especially a so-called educated man, would choose my mode of ex istence ~ why would a man live alone in a woodland cabin, without modern conveniences and on a low standard of living? ...I am going to try to answer that question briefly: 61

July 2013 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times July 2013

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