With the advent of Internet resources and e-books, page number references have become less useful. Further, Thoreau's Walden has appeared in countless editions over the decades, and each of these is paginated in a slightly different way.
Therefore, it is more helpful to identify the location of a passage in an alternate way. This quotation, beginning with “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,” is found in the second chapter of Walden (entitled “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”) in about the sixteenth paragraph.
Let's take a few moments to reflect on the meaning of this quotation, which tells us why Thoreau decided to leave society and live in the woods. He wishes, he says, “to live deliberately.” He wants to take control of his own life, to be conscious of every aspect of it, and to appreciate living while avoiding the distractions that can so easily creep in.
Further, Thoreau wants to focus on the “essential facts of life,” what is really important rather than all the little, insignificant details that can grasp our minds and hearts and pull us away from the basics. Thoreau wants to get back to the basics.
Thoreau also wants to learn from his life. He wants to take time for reflection, to ponder his experiences so far and draw out lessons from them. This is difficult to do when one is busy with many things, so Thoreau will set aside much of his activity and sit quietly and learn.
Finally, Thoreau wants to make sure that he is truly living. He does not want to reach the end of his life and find himself filled with regret at all the opportunities he has lost. He wants to plunge himself into life and discover what it is really about before he dies.