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Henry D.Thoreau

Posted 12-12-2010 at 02:18 AM by Steve Bucknell
The Pond in Winter.


Then to my morning work. First I take an axe and pail and go in search of water, if that be not a dream. After a cold and snowy night it needed a divining-rod to find it. Every winter the liquid and trembling surface of the pond, which was so sensitive to every breath, and reflected every light and shadow, becomes solid to the depth of a foot or a foot and a half, so it will support the heaviest teams, and perchance the snow covers it to an equal depth, and it is not to be distinguished from any level field. Like the marmots in the surrounding hills, it closes its eyelids and becomes dormant for three months or more. Standing in the snow-covered plain, as if in a pasture amid the hills, I cut my way first through a foot of snow, and then a foot of ice, and open a window under my feet, where, kneeling to drink, I look down into the quiet parlour of the fishes, pervaded by a softened light as through a window of ground glass, with its bright sanded floor the same as in summer; there a perennial waveless serenity reigns as in the amber twighlight sky, corresponding to the cool and even temperament of the inhabitants. Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.


Henry D.Thoreau. Walden or Life in the Woods.

My 1910 edition of Walden is a “school edition”. It also provides me with “Suggestive questions and comments.” It gives me a cryptic note here, and then asks me a delightfully arch question:

Note:

Page 312, line 4, Marmots. That is, the woodchucks, a species of marmot.

Question:

Page 313. Would you enjoy getting your winter-morning draught of water as Thoreau did?
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