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it contains to extend themselves upward and downward until it is
completely honeycombed, and at last disappears suddenly in a single
spring rain. Ice has its grain as well as wood, and when a cake begins
to rot or "comb," that is, assume the appearance of honeycomb,
whatever may be its position, the air cells are at right angles with
what was the water surface. Where there is a rock or a log rising near
to the surface the ice over it is much thinner, and is frequently quite
dissolved by this reflected heat; and I have been told that in the
experiment at Cambridge to freeze water in a shallow wooden pond,
though the cold air circulated underneath, and so had access to both
sides, the reflection of the sun from the bottom more than
counterbalanced this advantage. When a warm rain in the middle of
the winter melts off the snow ice from Walden, and leaves a hard
dark or transparent ice on the middle, there will be a strip of rotten
though thicker white ice, a rod or more wide, about the shores,
created by this reflected heat. Also, as I have said, the bubbles
themselves within the ice operate as burning-glasses to melt the ice

The phenomena of the year take place every day in a pond on a small
scale. Every morning, generally speaking, the shallow water is being
warmed more rapidly than the deep, though it may not be made so
warm after all, and every evening it is being cooled more rapidly
until the morning, The day is an epitome of the year. The night is the
winter, the morning and evening are the spring and fall, and the noon
is the summer. The cracking and booming of the ice indicate a
change of temperature. One pleasant morning after a cold night,
February 24th, 1850, having gone to Flint’s Pond to spend the day, I
noticed with surprise, that when I struck the ice with the head of my
axe, it resounded like a gong for many rods around, or as if I had
struck on a tight drum-head. The pond began to boom about an hour
after sunrise, when it felt the influence of the sun’s rays slanted upon
it from over the hills; it stretched itself and yawned like a waking
man with a gradually increasing tumult, which was kept up three or
four hours. It took a short siesta at noon, and boomed once more
toward night, as the sun was withdrawing his influence. In the right
stage of the weather a pond fires its evening gun with great
regularity. But in the middle of the day, being full of cracks, and the
air also being less elastic, it had completely lost its resonance, and
probably fishes and muskrats could not then have been stunned by a
blow on it. The fishermen say that the "thundering of the pond"
scares the fishes and prevents their biting. The pond does not thunder
every evening, and I cannot tell surely when to expect its thundering;
but though I may perceive no difference in the weather, it does. Who
would have suspected so large and cold and thick-skinned a thing to
be so sensitive? Yet it has its law to which it thunders obedience
when it should as surely as the buds expand in the spring. The earth
is all alive and covered with papillae. The largest pond is as sensitive
to atmospheric changes as the globule of mercury in its tube.

One attraction in coming to the woods to live was that I should have
leisure and opportunity to see the Spring come in. The ice in the
pond at length begins to be honeycombed, and I can set my heel in it
as I walk. Fogs and rains and warmer suns are gradually melting the
snow; the days have grown sensibly longer; and I see how I shall get
through the winter without adding to my wood-pile, for large fires
are no longer necessary. I am on the alert for the first signs of spring,
to hear the chance note of some arriving bird, or the striped
squirrel’s chirp, for his stores must be now nearly exhausted, or see
the woodchuck venture out of his winter quarters. On the 13th of
March, after I had heard the bluebird, song sparrow, and red-wing,
the ice was still nearly a foot thick. As the weather grew warmer it
was not sensibly worn away by the water, nor broken up and floated
off as in rivers, but, though it was completely melted for half a rod in
width about the shore, the middle was merely honeycombed and
saturated with water, so that you could put your foot through it when
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