Am I the only one feeling a slight sense of dread about The Great Reopening?

Did the governor’s order to fully reopen — and the Island’s burst of activity over Memorial Day weekend — take anyone else by surprise? Do we really have to go all the way back to “normal,” and live on the run, elbow-to-elbow again?

As the Gazette has chronicled so well, the pandemic has been a terrible hardship for many families and businesses. No one wants to repeat 2020. But I suspect that many of us are secretly wishing we could carry some of the shutdown’s peace and quiet with us into the rest of 2021, and beyond.

During last summer’s eerie quiet, I re-read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, the journal he kept about his two years living alone in a one-room cabin in the woods at Walden Pond near Concord. I had been inspired to read it by an essay in The New York Times by Holland Cotter, suggesting that Thoreau could teach us how to thrive during the pandemic’s forced isolation.

Thoreau welcomed his time apart from society, Cotter said, and used his undistracted days to swim early in the morning, cultivate a garden, chop firewood, observe the changing seasons and read voraciously. The lesson for us pandemic prisoners, Cotter said, was to embrace this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live deliberately, as Thoreau described his life in the woods from 1845 to 1847.

I liked this idea, but I had to chuckle a bit at the self-importance with which Thoreau recounted his experience. He seemed to think that no one in the world had ever gone skinny-dipping before, or lived in close touch with nature and the changing seasons.

I know two women on Chappaquiddick, I thought to myself, who could teach Henry David a thing or two about the quiet life.

One of them emailed me at the beginning of the pandemic saying, “I haven’t been off Chappy for three weeks – so glad I am an introvert anyway!” The other wrote me a cheery card about the same time to say, “Cape Pogue, the woods, the beaches are what bring me peacefulness and occasional joy.”

By this spring, however, even the Vineyard’s most rugged individualists probably welcomed Gov. Charlie Baker’s order opening everything up again.

The question now is whether we introverts can come back out at our own pace, and on our own terms

I think it’s time for us to write the Introvert’s Manifesto, much as Martin Luther did when he nailed his famous Proclamation and Grievances on the church door in 1517, beginning the Protestant Reformation.

Being introverts, of course, we will be more low-key. Maybe a sentence or two on a Post-It Note, slipped under the door mat.

But what should we proclaim? Let’s see:

• “I’m never coming out.” Well, no. Even Thoreau finally had to move back to Concord.

• “I’m coming out, but I’m keeping my mask on, and please keep your distance.” A bit testy, but better.

• “I’m coming out, but I’m not the person you remember. I’ve become more independent.” Now this sounds like a manifesto. Let the personal reformation begin.

• “I am coming out – unhurried.” This lacks manifesto flair, but I like it. I hope I can remember to live by it.

Living without hurry was the great pleasure of life at Walden, freeing Thoreau to spend each day as he liked, at his own pace.

“Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed?” he asked. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears.”

Let him or her row a skiff across Tashmoo, teach a grandchild how to bait a hook, take a walk with a dear friend.

Walden doesn’t have to be lived alone, after all. Thoreau kept two extra chairs in his cabin, to welcome company.

May we all walk into post-pandemic life at our own pace, stepping to the music we hear.

Tom Harmon is a writer who lives in New Mexico, and visits the Vineyard as often as possible.