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along the birch, and so pulled the axe out again.

The shore is composed of a belt of smooth rounded white stones like
pavingstones, excepting one or two short sand beaches, and is so
steep that in many places a single leap will carry you into water over
your head; and were it not for its remarkable transparency, that
would be the last to be seen of its bottom till it rose on the opposite
side. Some think it is bottomless. It is nowhere muddy, and a casual
observer would say that there were no weeds at all in it; and of
noticeable plants, except in the little meadows recently overflowed,
which do not properly belong to it, a closer scrutiny does not detect a
flag nor a bulrush, nor even a lily, yellow or white, but only a few
small heart-leaves and potamogetons, and perhaps a water-target or
two; all which however a bather might not perceive; and these plants
are clean and bright like the element they grow in. The stones extend
a rod or two into the water, and then the bottom is pure sand, except
in the deepest parts, where there is usually a little sediment, probably
from the decay of the leaves which have been wafted on to it so
many successive falls, and a bright green weed is brought up on
anchors even in midwinter.

We have one other pond just like this, White Pond, in Nine Acre
Corner, about two and a half miles westerly; but, though I am
acquainted with most of the ponds within a dozen miles of this
centre I do not know a third of this pure and well-like character.
Successive nations perchance have drank at, admired, and fathomed
it, and passed away, and still its water is green and pellucid as ever.
Not an intermitting spring! Perhaps on that spring morning when
Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in
existence, and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain
accompanied with mist and a southerly wind, and covered with
myriads of ducks and geese, which had not heard of the fall, when
still such pure lakes sufficed them. Even then it had commenced to
rise and fall, and had clarified its waters and colored them of the hue
they now wear, and obtained a patent of Heaven to be the only
Walden Pond in the world and distiller of celestial dews. Who knows
in how many unremembered nations’ literatures this has been the
Castalian Fountain? or what nymphs presided over it in the Golden
Age? It is a gem of the first water which Concord wears in her

Yet perchance the first who came to this well have left some trace of
their footsteps. I have been surprised to detect encircling the pond,
even where a thick wood has just been cut down on the shore, a
narrow shelf-like path in the steep hillside, alternately rising and
falling, approaching and receding from the water’s edge, as old
probably as the race of man here, worn by the feet of aboriginal
hunters, and still from time to time unmittingly trodden by the
present occupants of the land. This is particularly distinct to one
standing on the middle of the pond in winter, just after a light snow
has fallen, appearing as a clear undulating white line, unobscured by
weeds and twigs, and very obvious a quarter of a mile off in many
places where in summer it is hardly distinguishable close at hand.
The snow reprints it, as it were, in clear white type alto-relievo. The
ornamented grounds of villas which will one day be built here may
still preserve some trace of this.

The pond rises and falls, but whether regularly or not, and within
what period, nobody knows, though, as usual, many pretend to
know. It is commonly higher in the winter and lower in the summer,
though not corresponding to the general wet and dryness. I can
remember when it was a foot or two lower, and also when it was at
least five feet higher, than when I lived by it. There is a narrow sand-
bar running into it, with very deep water on one side, on which I
helped boil a kettle of chowder, some six rods from the main shore,
about the year 1824, which it has not been possible to do for twenty-
five years; and, on the other hand, my friends used to listen with
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