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Once in a while we sat together on the pond, he at one end of the
boat, and I at the other; but not many words passed between us, for
he had grown deaf in his later years, but he occasionally hummed a
psalm, which harmonized well enough with my philosophy. Our
inter-course was thus altogether one of unbroken harmony, far more
pleasing to remember than if it had been carried on by speech.
When, as was commonly the case, I had none to commune with, I
used to raise the echoes by striking with a paddle on the side of my
boat, filling the surrounding woods with circling and dilating sound,
stirring them up as the keeper of a menagerie his wild beasts, until I
elicited a growl from every wooded vale and hillside.

In warm evenings I frequently sat in the boat playing the flute, and
saw the perch, which I seem to have charmed, hovering around me,
and the moon travelling over the ribbed bottom, which was strewed
with the wrecks of the forest. Formerly I had come to this pond
adventurously, from time to time, in dark summer nights, with a
companion, and, making a fire close to the water’s edge, which we
thought attracted the fishes, we caught pouts with a bunch of worms
strung on a thread, and when we had done, far in the night, threw the
burning brands high into the air like skyrockets, which, coming
down into the pond, were quenched with a loud hissing, and we were
suddenly groping in total darkness. Through this, whistling a tune,
we took our way to the haunts of men again. But now I had made my
home by the shore.

Sometimes, after staying in a village parlor till the family had all
retired, I have returned to the woods, and, partly with a view to the
next day’s dinner, spent the hours of midnight fishing from a boat by
moonlight, serenaded by owls and foxes, and hearing, from time to
time, the creaking note of some unknown bird close at hand. These
experiences were very memorable and valuable to meanchored in
forty feet of water, and twenty or thirty rods from the shore,
surrounded sometimes by thousands of small perch and shiners,
dimpling the surface with their tails in the moonlight, and
communicating by a long flaxen line with mysterious nocturnal
fishes which had their dwelling forty feet below, or sometimes
dragging sixty feet of line about the pond as I drifted in the gentle
night breeze, now and then feeling a slight vibration along it,
indicative of some life prowling about its extremity, of dull uncertain
blundering purpose there, and slow to make up its mind. At length
you slowly raise, pulling hand over hand, some horned pout
squeaking and squirming to the upper air. It was very queer,
especially in dark nights, when your thoughts had wandered to vast
and cosmogonal themes in other spheres, to feel this faint jerk,
which came to interrupt your dreams and link you to Nature again. It
seemed as if I might next cast my line upward into the air, as well as
downward into this element, which was scarcely more dense. Thus I
caught two fishes as it were with one hook.

The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very
beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern
one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore; yet this
pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular
description. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and a
mile and three quarters in circumference, and contains about sixty-
one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak
woods, without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and
evaporation. The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to
the height of forty to eighty feet, though on the southeast and east
they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet
respectively, within a quarter and a third of a mile. They are
exclusively woodland. All our Concord waters have two colors at
least; one when viewed at a distance, and another, more proper, close
at hand. The first depends more on the light, and follows the sky. In
clear weather, in summer, they appear blue at a little distance,
especially if agitated, and at a great distance all appear alike. In
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