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瓦尔登湖:The Ponds3

2006-07-29 00:59

  The water is so transparent that the bottom can easily be discerned at the depth of twenty-five or thirty feet.  Paddling over it, you may see, many feet beneath the surface, the schools of perch and shiners, perhaps only an inch long, yet the former easily distinguished by their transverse bars, and you think that they must be ascetic fish that find a subsistence there.  Once, in the winter,many years ago, when I had been cutting holes through the ice in order to catch pickerel, as I stepped ashore I tossed my axe back on to the ice, but, as if some evil genius had directed it, it slid four or five rods directly into one of the holes, where the water was twenty-five feet deep.  Out of curiosity, I lay down on the ice and looked through the hole, until I saw the axe a little on one side, standing on its head, with its helve erect and gently swaying to and fro with the pulse of the pond; and there it might have stood erect and swaying till in the course of time the handle rotted off,if I had not disturbed it.  Making another hole directly over it with an ice chisel which I had, and cutting down the longest birch which I could find in the neighborhood with my knife, I made a slip-noose, which I attached to its end, and, letting it down carefully, passed it over the knob of the handle, and drew it by a line along the birch, and so pulled the axe out again.

  The shore is composed of a belt of smooth rounded white stones like paving-stones, 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 coronet.

  水是这样的透明,二十五至三十英尺下面的水底都可以很清楚地看到。赤脚踏水时,你看到在水面下许多英尺的地方有成群的鲈鱼和银鱼,大约只一英寸长,连前者的横行的花纹也能看得清清楚楚,你会觉得这种鱼也是不愿意沾染红尘,才到这里来生存的。

  有一次,在冬天里,好几年前了,为了钓梭鱼,我在冰上挖了几个洞,上岸之后,我把一柄斧头扔在冰上,可是好像有什么恶鬼故意要开玩笑似的,斧头在冰上滑过了四五杆远,刚好从一个窟窿中滑了下去,那里的水深二十五英尺,为了好奇,我躺在冰上,从那窟窿里望,我看到了那柄斧头,它偏在一边头向下直立着,那斧柄笔直向上,顺着湖水的脉动摇摇摆摆,要不是我后来又把它吊了起来,它可能就会这样直立下去,直到木柄烂掉为止。就在它的上面,用我带来的凿冰的凿子,我又凿了一个洞,又用我的刀,割下了我看到的附近最长的一条赤杨树枝,我做了一个活结的绳圈,放在树枝的一头,小心地放下去,用它套住了斧柄凸出的地方,然后用赤杨枝旁边的绳子一拉,这样就把那柄斧头吊了起来。

  湖岸是由一长溜像铺路石那样的光滑的圆圆的白石组成的;除一两处小小的沙滩之外,它陡立着,纵身一跃便可以跳到一个人深的水中;要不是水波明净得出奇,你决不可能看到这个湖的底部,除非是它又在对岸升起。有人认为它深得没有底。它没有一处是泥泞的,偶尔观察的过客或许还会说,它里面连水草也没有一根;至于可以见到的水草,除了最近给上涨了的水淹没的、并不属于这个湖的草地以外,便是细心地查看也确实是看不到菖蒲和芦苇的,甚至没有水莲花,无论是黄色的或是白色的,最多只有一些心形叶子和河蓼草,也许还有一两张眼子菜;然而,游泳者也看不到它们;便是这些水草,也像它们生长在里面的水一样的明亮而无垢。岸石伸展入水,只一二杆远,水底已是纯粹的细沙,除了最深的部分,那里总不免有一点沉积物,也许是腐朽了的叶子,多少个秋天来,落叶被刮到湖上,另外还有一些光亮的绿色水苔,甚至在深冬时令拔起铁锚来的时候,它们也会跟着被拔上来的。

  我们还有另一个这样的湖,在九亩角那里的白湖,在偏西两英里半之处;可是以这里为中心的十二英里半径的圆周之内,虽然还有许多的湖沼是我熟悉的,我却找不出第三个湖有这样的纯洁得如同井水的特性。大约历来的民族都饮用过这湖水,艳羡过它并测量过它的深度,而后他们一个个消逝了,湖水却依然澄清,发出绿色。一个春天也没有变化过!也许远在亚当和夏娃被逐出伊甸乐园时,那个春晨之前,瓦尔登湖已经存在了,甚至在那个时候,随着轻雾和一阵阵的南凤,飘下了一阵柔和的春雨,湖面不再平静了,成群的野鸭和天鹅在湖上游着,它们一点都没有知道逐出乐园这一回事,能有这样纯粹的湖水真够满足啦。就是在那时候,它已经又涨,又落,纯清了它的水,还染上了现在它所有的色泽,还专有了这一片天空,成了世界上唯一的一个瓦尔登湖,它是天上露珠的蒸馏器。谁知道,在多少篇再没人记得的民族诗篇中,这个湖曾被誉为喀斯泰里亚之泉?在黄金时代里,有多少山林水泽的精灵曾在这里居住?这是在康科德的冠冕上的第一滴水明珠。

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