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瓦尔登湖:The Ponds6

2006-07-29 01:02

  You may see from a boat, in calm weather, near the sandy eastern shore, where the water is eight or ten feet deep, and also in some other parts of the pond, some circular heaps half a dozen feet in diameter by a foot in height, consisting of small stones less than a hen's egg in size, where all around is bare sand.  At first you wonder if the Indians could have formed them on the ice for any purpose, and so, when the ice melted, they sank to the bottom; but they are too regular and some of them plainly too fresh for that.  They are similar to those found in rivers; but as there are no suckers nor lampreys here, I know not by what fish they could be made.  Perhaps they are the nests of the chivin.  These lend a pleasing mystery to the bottom.

  The shore is irregular enough not to be monotonous.  I have in my mind's eye the western, indented with deep bays, the bolder northern, and the beautifully scalloped southern shore, where successive capes overlap each other and suggest unexplored coves between.  The forest has never so good a setting, nor is so distinctly beautiful, as when seen from the middle of a small lake amid hills which rise from the water's edge; for the water in which it is reflected not only makes the best foreground in such a case,but, with its winding shore, the most natural and agreeable boundary to it.  There is no rawness nor imperfection in its edge there, as where the axe has cleared a part, or a cultivated field abuts on it. The trees have ample room to expand on the water side, and each sends forth its most vigorous branch in that direction.  There Nature has woven a natural selvage, and the eye rises by just gradations from the low shrubs of the shore to the highest trees. There are few traces of man's hand to be seen.  The water laves the shore as it did a thousand years ago.

  A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.  The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.

  Standing on the smooth sandy beach at the east end of the pond,in a calm September afternoon, when a slight haze makes the opposite shore-line indistinct, I have seen whence came the expression, "the glassy surface of a lake."  When you invert your head, it looks like a thread of finest gossamer stretched across the valley, and gleaming against the distant pine woods, separating one stratum of the atmosphere from another.  You would think that you could walk dry under it to the opposite hills, and that the swallows which skim over might perch on it.  Indeed, they sometimes dive below this line, as it were by mistake, and are undeceived.  As you look over the pond westward you are obliged to employ both your hands to defend your eyes against the reflected as well as the true sun, for they are equally bright; and if, between the two, you survey its surface critically, it is literally as smooth as glass, except where the skater insects, at equal intervals scattered over its whole extent, by their motions in the sun produce the finest imaginable sparkle on it, or, perchance, a duck plumes itself, or, as I have said, a swallow skims so low as to touch it.  It may be that in the distance a fish describes an arc of three or four feet in the air,and there is one bright flash where it emerges, and another where it strikes the water; sometimes the whole silvery arc is revealed; or here and there, perhaps, is a thistle-down floating on its surface,which the fishes dart at and so dimple it again.  It is like molten glass cooled but not congealed, and the few motes in it are pure and beautiful like the imperfections in glass.  You may often detect a yet smoother and darker water, separated from the rest as if by an invisible cobweb, boom of the water nymphs, resting on it.  From a hilltop you can see a fish leap in almost any part; for not a pickerel or shiner picks an insect from this smooth surface but it manifestly disturbs the equilibrium of the whole lake.  It is wonderful with what elaborateness this simple fact is advertised ——this piscine murder will out —— and from my distant perch I distinguish the circling undulations when they are half a dozen rods in diameter.  You can even detect a water-bug (Gyrinus) ceaselessly progressing over the smooth surface a quarter of a mile off; for they furrow the water slightly, making a conspicuous ripple bounded by two diverging lines, but the skaters glide over it without rippling it perceptibly.  When the surface is considerably agitated there are no skaters nor water-bugs on it, but apparently, in calm days, they leave their havens and adventurously glide forth from the shore by short impulses till they completely cover it.  It is a soothing employment, on one of those fine days in the fall when all the warmth of the sun is fully appreciated, to sit on a stump on such a height as this, overlooking the pond, and study the dimpling circles which are incessantly inscribed on its otherwise invisible surface amid the reflected skies and trees.  Over this great expanse there is no disturbance but it is thus at once gently smoothed away and assuaged, as, when a vase of water is jarred, the trembling circles seek the shore and all is smooth again.  Not a fish can leap or an insect fall on the pond but it is thus reported in circling dimples, in lines of beauty, as it were the constant welling up of its fountain, the gentle pulsing of its life, the heaving of its breast.  The thrills of joy and thrills of pain are undistinguishable.  How peaceful the phenomena of the lake!  Again the works of man shine as in the spring.  Ay, every leaf and twig and stone and cobweb sparkles now at mid-afternoon as when covered with dew in a spring morning.  Every motion of an oar or an insect produces a flash of light; and if an oar falls, how sweet the echo!

  在宁静的气候中,坐在船上,你可以看到,东边的沙滩附近,水深八英尺或十英尺的地方,在湖的另一些地方,也可以看到的,有圆形的一堆堆东西,约一英尺高,直径约六英尺,堆的是比鸡蛋略小的一些圆石,而在这一堆堆圆石周围,全是黄沙。起初,你会觉得惊奇,是否那些印第安人故意在冰上堆积这些圆石,等到冰溶化了,它们就沉到了湖底;但是,就算这样吧,那形式还是太规则化了,而且有些圆石,显然又太新鲜。

  它们和河流中可以看见的很相似。但这里没有胭脂鱼或八目鳗,我不知道它是哪一些鱼建筑起来的。也许它是银鱼的巢。这样,水底更有了一种愉快的神秘感了。

  湖岸极不规则,所以一点不单调。我闭目也能看见,西岸有深深的锯齿形的湾,北岸较开朗,而那美丽的,扇贝形的南岸,一个个岬角相互地交叠着,使人想起岬角之间一定还有人迹未到的小海湾。在群山之中,小湖中央,望着水边直立而起的那些山上的森林,这些森林不能再有更好的背景,也不能更美丽了,因为森林已经反映在湖水中,这不仅是形成了最美的前景,而且那弯弯曲曲的湖岸,恰又给它做了最自然又最愉悦的边界线。不像斧头砍伐出一个林中空地,或者露出了一片开垦了的田地的那种地方,这儿没有不美的或者不完整的感觉。树木都有充分的余地在水边扩展,每一棵树都向了这个方向伸出最强有力的桠枝。大自然编织了一幅很自然的织锦,眼睛可以从沿岸最低的矮树渐渐地望上去,望到最高的树。这里看不到多少人类的双手留下的痕迹。水洗湖岸,正如一千年前。

  一个湖是风景中最美、最有表情的姿容。它是大地的眼睛;望着它的人可以测出他自己的天性的深浅。湖所产生的湖边的树木是睫毛一样的镶边,而四周森林蓊郁的群山和山崖是它的浓密突出的眉毛。

  站在湖东端的平坦的沙滩上,在一个平静的九月下午,薄雾使对岸的岸线看不甚清楚,那时我了解了所谓“玻璃似的湖面”这句话是什么意思了。当你倒转了头看湖,它像一条最精细的薄纱张挂在山谷之上,衬着远处的松林而发光,把大气的一层和另外的一层隔开了。你会觉得你可以从它下面走过去,走到对面的山上,而身体还是干的,你觉得掠过水面的燕子很可以停在水面上。是的,有时它们氽水到水平线之下,好像这是偶然的错误,继而恍然大悟。当你向西,望到湖对面去的时候,你不能不用两手来保护你的眼睛,一方面挡开本来的太阳光,同时又挡开映在水中的太阳光;如果,这时你能够在这两种太阳光之间,批判地考察湖面,它正应了那句话,所谓“波平如镜”了,其时只有一些掠水虫,隔开了同等距离,分散在全部的湖面,而由于它们在阳光里发出了最精美的想象得到的闪光来,或许,还会有一只鸭子在整理它自己的羽毛,或许,正如我已经说过的,一只燕子飞掠在水面上,低得碰到了水。还有可能,在远处,有一条鱼在空中画出了一个大约三四英尺的圆弧来,它跃起时一道闪光,降落入水,又一道闪光,有时,全部的圆弧展露了,银色的圆弧;但这里或那里,有时会漂着一枝蓟草,鱼向它一跃,水上便又激起水涡。这像是玻璃的溶液,已经冷却,但是还没有凝结,而其中连少数尘垢也还是纯洁而美丽的,像玻璃中的细眼。你还常常可以看到一片更平滑、更黝黑的水,好像有一张看不见的蜘蛛网把它同其余的隔开似的,成了水妖的栅栏,躺在湖面。从山顶下瞰,你可以看到,几乎到处都有跃起的鱼;在这样凝滑的平面上,没有一条梭鱼或银鱼在捕捉一个虫子时,不会破坏全湖的均势的。真是神奇,这简简单单的一件事,却可以这么精巧地显现,——这水族界的谋杀案会暴露出来——我站在远远的高处,看到了那水的扩大的圆涡,它们的直径有五六杆长。甚至你还可以看到水蝎(学名Gyrinus)不停地在平滑的水面滑了四分之一英里;它们微微地犁出了水上的皱纹来,分出两条界线,其间有着很明显的漪澜;而掠水虫在水面上滑来滑去却不留下显明的可见痕迹。在湖水激荡的时候,便看不到掠水虫和水蝎了,显然只在风平浪静的时候,它们才从它们的港埠出发,探险似地从湖岸的一面,用短距离的滑行,滑上前去,滑上前去,直到它们滑过全湖。这是何等愉快的事啊。秋天里,在这样一个晴朗的天气中,充分地享受了太阳的温暖,在这样的高处坐在一个树桩上,湖的全景尽收眼底,细看那圆圆的水涡,那些圆涡一刻不停地刻印在天空和树木的倒影中间的水面上,要不是有这些水涡,水面是看不到的。在这样广大的一片水面上,并没有一点儿扰动,就有一点儿,也立刻柔和地复归于平静而消失了,好像在水边装一瓶子水,那些颤栗的水波流回到岸边之后,立刻又平滑了。一条鱼跳跃起来,一个虫子掉落到湖上,都这样用圆涡,用美丽的线条来表达,仿佛那是泉源中的经常的喷涌,它的生命的轻柔的搏动,它的胸膛的呼吸起伏。

  那是欢乐的震抖,还是痛苦的颤栗,都无从分辨。湖的现象是何等的和平啊!人类的工作又像在春天里一样的发光了。是啊,每一树叶、桠枝、石子和蜘蛛网在下午茶时又在发光,跟它们在春天的早晨承露以后一样。每一支划桨的或每一只虫子的动作都能发出一道闪光来,而一声桨响,又能引出何等的甜蜜的回音来啊!

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