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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau


but by our ignorance of essential elements in the calculation. Our
notions of law and harmony are commonly confined to those
instances which we detect; but the harmony which results from a far
greater number of seemingly conflicting, but really concurring, laws,
which we have not detected, is still more wonderful. The particular
laws are as our points of view, as, to the traveller, a mountain outline
varies with every step, and it has an infinite number of profiles,
though absolutely but one form. Even when cleft or bored through it
is not comprehended in its entireness.

What I have observed of the pond is no less true in ethics. It is the
law of average. Such a rule of the two diameters not only guides us
toward the sun in the system and the heart in man, but draws lines
through the length and breadth of the aggregate of a manís particular
daily behaviors and waves of life into his coves and inlets, and
where they intersect will be the height or depth of his character.
Perhaps we need only to know how his shores trend and his adjacent
country or circumstances, to infer his depth and concealed bottom. If
he is surrounded by mountainous circumstances, an Achillean shore,
whose peaks overshadow and are reflected in his bosom, they
suggest a corresponding depth in him. But a low and smooth shore
proves him shallow on that side. In our bodies, a bold projecting
brow falls off to and indicates a corresponding depth of thought.
Also there is a bar across the entrance of our every cove, or
particular inclination; each is our harbor for a season, in which we
are detained and partially land-locked. These inclinations are not
whimsical usually, but their form, size, and direction are determined
by the promontories of the shore, the ancient axes of elevation.
When this bar is gradually increased by storms, tides, or currents, or
there is a subsidence of the waters, so that it reaches to the surface,
that which was at first but an inclination in the shore in which a
thought was harbored becomes an individual lake, cut off from the
ocean, wherein the thought secures its own conditions-changes,
perhaps, from salt to fresh, becomes a sweet sea, dead sea, or a
marsh. At the advent of each individual into this life, may we not
suppose that such a bar has risen to the surface somewhere? It is
true, we are such poor navigators that our thoughts, for the most part,
stand off and on upon a harborless coast, are conversant only with
the bights of the bays of poesy, or steer for the public ports of entry,
and go into the dry docks of science, where they merely refit for this
world, and no natural currents concur to individualize them.

As for the inlet or outlet of Walden, I have not discovered any but
rain and snow and evaporation, though perhaps, with a thermometer
and a line, such places may be found, for where the water flows into
the pond it will probably be coldest in summer and warmest in
winter. When the ice-men were at work here in Ď46-7, the cakes sent
to the shore were one day rejected by those who were stacking them
up there, not being thick enough to lie side by side with the rest; and
the cutters thus discovered that the ice over a small space was two or
three inches thinner than elsewhere, which made them think that
there was an inlet there. They also showed me in another place what
they thought was a "leach-hole," through which the pond leaked out
under a hill into a neighboring meadow, pushing me out on a cake of
ice to see it. It was a small cavity under ten feet of water; but I think
that I can warrant the pond not to need soldering till they find a
worse leak than that. One has suggested, that if such a "leach-hole"
should be found, its connection with the meadow, if any existed,
might be proved by conveying some, colored powder or sawdust to
the mouth of the hole, and then putting a strainer over the spring in
the meadow, which would catch some of the particles carried
through by the current. While I was surveying, the ice, which was
sixteen inches thick, undulated under a slight wind like water. It is
well known that a level cannot be used on ice. At one rod from the
shore its greatest fluctuation, when observed by means of a level on
land directed toward a graduated staff on the ice, was three quarters
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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