S he still loves him.
It has been decades since she decided, at age 15, that he was the one for her, and more than a century since he died, his last words a puzzling "Moose . . . Indian?" but she loves him still, and perhaps these days more than ever.
"I do," Alice Daly says as she stands at the shore of the pond Henry David Thoreau made famous.
Here, in a tiny cabin that cost him $28.12 to build in 1845, Thoreau wrote his famous nature epic, Walden, and also an essay, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, that is, once again, ringing across America.
Daly comes here often to walk, to read and to think about Thoreau and his inspiration for the antiwar movement.
She strides purposely about the paths, a pack over her shoulders, a large "Choose Peace" button on her spring jacket, a smaller "Dissent is Patriotic" button over the heart she gave to Henry David Thoreau when she was an idealistic teenager growing up on Long Island.
She is just as idealistic today, a keen activist who marches, writes, debates, stands vigil and has even gone to court to fight for the right to hang "Stop the War" signs alongside the Stars and Stripes that drape every overpass. The judge threw out her group's request.
"I'm trying for civil disobedience," she laughs.
Thoreau's essay, originally delivered as a lecture in the nearby town of Concord, came out of his decision to go to jail rather than pay a tax to support the Mexican War. His argument in favour of passive resistance became inspiration for Gandhi as well as for Martin Luther King, Jr. For civil-rights activists and Vietnam War protesters, it was the one irrefutable argument against any price being put on personal conscience.
Now, in this early spring of the war in Iraq, it is once again in the air.
"He's truly a wonderful thinker," says Daly. "Especially for today.
"He'd be against the war; of course he would. He was against the Mexican War. He would think like I do."
For the record, Daly, a massage therapist in nearby Concord, thinks a great deal about what is happening in her country these days. She cannot, for example, bear the twisted logic that says, "We have to save the children; we have to go to war."
"How," she also asks, "can you bomb people into democracy?"
She sees this current rise in activism, as many others do, as the new No. 2 world power, the power of public opinion, the resolve of the protesters.
"The government," she says, "underestimates this wave against unilateral brutality."
She came out early this morning for her walk. There was fog over the ice, but there were also songbirds in the trees, and the beauty of the setting got her to thinking that Thoreau was making legitimate connections when he came here and ended up writing about nature and the necessity, at times, to fight back against what one might perceive to be bad government.
"Everything hangs together," she says. "There is a huge overlap between those fighting the environmental war and the antiwar movement.
"If you think you can dominate nature, then you must believe you can also dominate people."
She does not wish to see injury on either side of the conflict, but she does blame her own government for being the aggressor. She does not like what she has seen of America under George W. Bush and, while she will not go as far as some who will argue that the present administration "welcomed" the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as an opportunity to move against civil rights, she feels very strongly that those rights are under attack.
"Tyrants," she says, "have known forever that first you make the people afraid."
Walden Pond seems an improper setting for such talk. The fog has cleared off; the sun is shining, and the birds are everywhere in the pines surrounding the place where Thoreau once had his little cabin.
At the shop at the edge of the park there seems to have been a run on Thoreau books, his civil-disobedience essay in particular, but also on shirts bearing memorable quotations from the woodlands philosopher who died in 1862 at the young age of 44.
"Simplify, simplify," says one.
"Always," says another, "you have to contend with the stupidity of men."
Alice Daly nods at the wisdom of the latter, wishing that there was a way to show such people that peace is not, in her opinion, "the absence of anything interesting, but something fascinating in its own right."
She believes she is right, even if for the moment outnumbered.
For, as her beloved Thoreau said in his famous essay: "A man more right than his neighbours constitutes a majority of one already."
The same, of course, goes for a woman more right.