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


Flintís, or Sandy Pond, in Lincoln, our greatest lake and inland sea,
lies about a mile east of Walden. It is much larger, being said to
contain one hundred and ninety-seven acres, and is more fertile in
fish; but it is comparatively shallow, and not remarkably pure. A
walk through the woods thither was often my recreation. It was
worth the while, if only to feel the wind blow on your cheek freely,
and see the waves run, and remember the life of mariners. I went a-
chestnutting there in the fall, on windy days, when the nuts were
dropping into the water and were washed to my feet; and one day, as
I crept along its sedgy shore, the fresh spray blowing in my face, I
came upon the mouldering wreck of a boat, the sides gone, and
hardly more than the impression of its flat bottom left amid the
rushes; yet its model was sharply defined, as if it were a large
decayed pad, with its veins. It was as impressive a wreck as one
could imagine on the seashore, and had as good a moral. It is by this
time mere vegetable mould and undistinguishable pond shore,
through which rushes and flags have pushed up. I used to admire the
ripple marks on the sandy bottom, at the north end of this pond,
made firm and hard to the feet of the wader by the pressure of the
water, and the rushes which grew in Indian file, in waving lines,
corresponding to these marks, rank behind rank, as if the waves had
planted them. There also I have found, in considerable quantities,
curious balls, composed apparently of fine grass or roots, of pipe-
wort perhaps, from half an inch to four inches in diameter, and
perfectly spherical. These wash back and forth in shallow water on a
sandy bottom, and are sometimes cast on the shore. They are either
solid grass, or have a little sand in the middle. At first you would say
that they were formed by the action of the waves, like a pebble; yet
the smallest are made of equally coarse materials, half an inch long,
and they are produced only at one season of the year. Moreover, the
waves, I suspect, do not so much construct as wear down a material
which has already acquired consistency. They preserve their form
when dry for an indefinite period.

Flintís Pond! Such is the poverty of our nomenclature. What right
had the un-clean and stupid farmer, whose farm abutted on this sky
water, whose shores he has ruthlessly laid bare, to give his name to
it? Some skin-flint, who loved better the reflecting surface of a
dollar, or a bright cent, in which he could see his own brazen face;
who regarded even the wild ducks which settled in it as trespassers;
his fingers grown into crooked and bony talons from the lodge habit
of grasping harpy-like;- so it is not named for me. I go not there to
see him nor to hear of him; who never saw it, who never bathed in it,
who never loved it, who never protected it, who never spoke a good
word for it, nor thanked God that He had made it. Rather let it be
named from the fishes that swim in it, the wild fowl or quadrupeds
which frequent it, the wild flowers which grow by its shores, or
some wild man or child the thread of whose history is interwoven
with its own; not from him who could show no title to it but the deed
which a like-minded neighbor or legislature gave him-him who
thought only of its money value; whose presence perchance cursed
all the shores; who exhausted the land around it, and would fain have
exhausted the waters within it; who regretted only that it was not
English hay or cranberry meadow-there was nothing to redeem it,
forsooth, in his eyes-and would have drained and sold it for the mud
at its bottom. It did not turn his mill, and it was no privilege to him
to behold it. I respect not his labors, his farm where everything has
its price, who would carry the landscape, who would carry his God,
to market, if he could get anything for him; who goes to market for
his god as it is; on whose farm nothing grows free, whose fields bear
no crops, whose meadows no flowers, whose trees no fruits, but
dollars; who loves not the beauty of his fruits, whose fruits are not
ripe for him till they are turned to dollars. Give me the poverty that
enjoys true wealth. Farmers are respectable and interesting to me in
proportion as they are poor-poor farmers. A model farm! where the
house stands like a fungus in a muckheap, chambers for men horses,
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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-Walden by Henry David Thoreau



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