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


oxen, and swine, cleansed and uncleansed, all contiguous to one
another! Stocked with men! A great grease-spot, redolent of manures
and buttermilk! Under a high state of cultivation, being manured
with the hearts and brains of men! As if you were to raise your
potatoes in the churchyard! Such is a model farm.

No, no; if the fairest features of the landscape are to be named after
men, let them be the noblest and worthiest men alone. Let our lakes
receive as true names at least as the Icarian Sea, where "still the
shore" a "brave attempt resounds."

Goose Pond, of small extent, is on my way to Flintís; Fair Haven, an
expansion of Concord River, said to contain some seventy acres, is a
mile southwest; and White Pond, of about forty acres, is a mile and a
half beyond Fair Haven. This is my lake country. These, with
Concord River, are my water privileges; and night and day, year in
year out, they grind such grist as I carry to them.

Since the wood-cutters, and the railroad, and I myself have profaned
Walden, perhaps the most attractive, if not the most beautiful, of all
our lakes, the gem of the woods, is White Pond;- a poor name from
its commonness, whether derived from the remarkable purity of its
waters or the color of its sands. In these as in other respects,
however, it is a lesser twin of Walden. They are so much alike that
you would say they must be connected under ground. It has the same
stony shore, and its waters are of the same hue. As at Walden, in
sultry dogday weather, looking down through the woods on some of
its bays which are not so deep but that the reflection from the bottom
tinges them, its waters are of a misty bluish-green or glaucous color.
Many years since I used to go there to collect the sand by cart-loads,
to make sandpaper with, and I have continued to visit it ever since.
One who frequents it proposes to call it Virid Lake. Perhaps it might
be called Yellow Pine Lake, from the following circumstance. About
fifteen years ago you could see the top of a pitch pine, of the kind
called yellow pine hereabouts, though it is not a distinct species,
projecting above the surface in deep water, many rods from the
shore. It was even supposed by some that the pond had sunk, and
this was one of the primitive forest that formerly stood there. I find
that even so long ago as 1792, in a "Topographical Description of
the Town of Concord," by one of its citizens, in the Collections of
the Massachusetts Historical Society, the author, after speaking of
Walden and White Ponds, adds, "In the middle of the latter may be
seen, when the water is very low, a tree which appears as if it grew
in the place where it now stands, although the roots are fifty feet
below the surface of the water; the top of this tree is broken off, and
at that place measures fourteen inches in diameter." In the spring of
Ď49 I talked with the man who lives nearest the pond in Sudbury,
who told me that it was he who got out this tree ten or fifteen years
before. As near as he could remember, it stood twelve or fifteen rods
from the shore, where the water was thirty or forty feet deep. It was
in the winter, and he had been getting out ice in the forenoon, and
had resolved that in the afternoon, with the aid of his neighbors, he
would take out the old yellow pine. He sawed a channel in the ice
toward the shore, and hauled it over and along and out on to the ice
with oxen; but, before he had gone far in his work, he was surprised
to find that it was wrong end upward, with the stumps of the
branches pointing down, and the small end firmly fastened in the
sandy bottom. It was about a foot in diameter at the big end, and he
had expected to get a good saw-log, but it was so rotten as to be fit
only for fuel, if for that. He had some of it in his shed then. There
were marks of an axe and of woodpeckers on the butt. He thought
that it might have been a dead tree on the shore, but was finally
blown over into the pond, and after the top had become water-
logged, while the butt-end was still dry and light, had drifted out and
sunk wrong end up. His father, eighty years old, could not remember
when it was not there. Several pretty large logs may still be seen
lying on the bottom, where, owing to the undulation of the surface,
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