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directly over another, but often like silvery coins poured from a bag,
one overlap-ping another, or in thin flakes, as if occupying slight
cleavages. The beauty of the ice was gone, and it was too late to
study the bottom. Being curious to know what position my great
bubbles occupied with regard to the new ice, I broke out a cake
containing a middling sized one, and turned it bottom upward. The
new ice had formed around and under the bubble, so that it was
included between the two ices. It was wholly in the lower ice, but
close against the upper, and was flattish, or perhaps slightly
lenticular, with a rounded edge, a quarter of an inch deep by four
inches in diameter; and I was surprised to find that directly under the
bubble the ice was melted with great regularity in the form of a
saucer reversed, to the height of five eighths of an inch in the
middle, leaving a thin partition there between the water and the
bubble, hardly an eighth of an inch thick; and in many places the
small bubbles in this partition had burst out downward, and probably
there was no ice at all under the largest bubbles, which were a foot in
diameter. I inferred that the infinite number of minute bubbles which
I had first seen against the under surface of the ice were now frozen
in likewise, and that each, in its degree, had operated like a burning-
glass on the ice beneath to melt and rot it. These are the little air-
guns which contribute to make the ice crack and whoop.

At length the winter set in good earnest, just as I had finished
plastering, and the wind began to howl around the house as if it had
not had permission to do so till then. Night after night the geese
came lumbering in the dark with a clangor and a whistling of wings,
even after the ground was covered with snow, some to alight in
Walden, and some flying low over the woods toward Fair Haven,
bound for Mexico. Several times, when returning from the village at
ten or eleven o’clock at night, I heard the tread of a flock of geese, or
else ducks, on the dry leaves in the woods by a pond-hole behind my
dwelling, where they had come up to feed, and the faint honk or
quack of their leader as they hurried off. In 1845 Walden froze
entirely over for the first time on the night of the 22d of December,
Flint’s and other shallower ponds and the river having been frozen
ten days or more; in ‘46, the 16th; in ‘49, about the 31st; and in ‘50,
about the 27th of December; in ‘52, the 5th of January; in ‘53, the
31st of December. The snow had already covered the ground since
the 25th of November, and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery
of winter. I withdrew yet farther into my shell, and endeavored to
keep a bright fire both within my house and within my breast. My
employment out of doors now was to collect the dead wood in the
forest, bringing it in my hands or on my shoulders, or sometimes
trailing a dead pine tree under each arm to my shed. An old forest
fence which had seen its best days was a great haul for me. I
sacrificed it to Vulcan, for it was past serving the god Terminus.
How much more interesting an event is that man’s supper who has
just been forth in the snow to hunt, nay, you might say, steal, the fuel
to cook it with! His bread and meat are sweet. There are enough
fagots and waste wood of all kinds in the forests of most of our
towns to support many fires, but which at present warm none, and,
some think, hinder the growth of the young wood. There was also
the driftwood of the pond. In the course of the summer I had
discovered a raft of pitch pine logs with the bark on, pinned together
by the Irish when the railroad was built. This I hauled up partly on
the shore. After soaking two years and then lying high six months it
was perfectly sound, though waterlogged past drying. I amused
myself one winter day with sliding this piecemeal across the pond,
nearly half a mile, skating behind with one end of a log fifteen feet
long on my shoulder, and the other on the ice; or I tied several logs
together with a birch withe, and then, with a longer birch or alder
which had a book at the end, dragged them across. Though
completely waterlogged and almost as heavy as lead, they not only
burned long, but made a very hot fire; nay, I thought that they
burned better for the soaking, as if the pitch, being confined by the
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