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Solitude

2006-07-29 00:24

  This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense,and imbibes delight through every pore.  I go and come with a strange liberty in Nature, a part of herself.  As I walk along the stony shore of the pond in my shirt-sleeves, though it is cool as well as cloudy and windy, and I see nothing special to attract me,all the elements are unusually congenial to me.  The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whip-poor-will is borne on the rippling wind from over the water.  Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet,like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled.  These small waves raised by the evening wind are as remote from storm as the smooth reflecting surface.  Though it is now dark, the wind still blows and roars in the wood, the waves still dash, and some creatures lull the rest with their notes.  The repose is never complete.  The wildest animals do not repose, but seek their prey now; the fox, and skunk, and rabbit, now roam the fields and woods without fear.  They are Nature's watchmen —— links which connect the days of animated life.

  When I return to my house I find that visitors have been there and left their cards, either a bunch of flowers, or a wreath of evergreen, or a name in pencil on a yellow walnut leaf or a chip. They who come rarely to the woods take some little piece of the forest into their hands to play with by the way, which they leave,either intentionally or accidentally.  One has peeled a willow wand,woven it into a ring, and dropped it on my table.  I could always tell if visitors had called in my absence, either by the bended twigs or grass, or the print of their shoes, and generally of what sex or age or quality they were by some slight trace left, as a flower dropped, or a bunch of grass plucked and thrown away, even as far off as the railroad, half a mile distant, or by the lingering odor of a cigar or pipe.  Nay, I was frequently notified of the passage of a traveller along the highway sixty rods off by the scent of his pipe.

  There is commonly sufficient space about us.  Our horizon is never quite at our elbows.  The thick wood is not just at our door,nor the pond, but somewhat is always clearing, familiar and worn by us, appropriated and fenced in some way, and reclaimed from Nature. For what reason have I this vast range and circuit, some square miles of unfrequented forest, for my privacy, abandoned to me by men?  My nearest neighbor is a mile distant, and no house is visible from any place but the hill-tops within half a mile of my own.  I have my horizon bounded by woods all to myself; a distant view of the railroad where it touches the pond on the one hand, and of the fence which skirts the woodland road on the other.  But for the most part it is as solitary where I live as on the prairies.  It is as much Asia or Africa as New England.  I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.  At night there was never a traveller passed my house, or knocked at my door,more than if I were the first or last man; unless it were in the spring, when at long intervals some came from the village to fish for pouts —— they plainly fished much more in the Walden Pond of their own natures, and baited their hooks with darkness —— but they soon retreated, usually with light baskets, and left "the world to darkness and to me," and the black kernel of the night was never profaned by any human neighborhood.  I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced.

  这是一个愉快的傍晚,全身只有一个感觉,每一个毛孔中都浸润着喜悦。我在大自然里以奇异的自由姿态来去,成了她自己的一部分。我只穿衬衫,沿着硬石的湖岸走,天气虽然寒冷,多云又多凤,也没有特别分心的事,那时天气对我异常地合适。牛蛙鸣叫,邀来黑夜,夜鹰的乐音乘着吹起涟漪的风从湖上传来。摇曳的赤杨和白杨,激起我的情感使我几乎不能呼吸了;然而像湖水一样,我的宁静只有涟漪而没有激荡。和如镜的湖面一样,晚风吹起来的微波是谈不上什么风暴的。虽然天色黑了,风还在森林中吹着,咆哮着,波浪还在拍岸,某一些动物还在用它们的乐音催眠着另外的那些,宁静不可能是绝对的。最凶狠的野兽并没有宁静,现在正找寻它们的牺牲品;狐狸,臭鼬,兔子,也正漫游在原野上,在森林中,它们却没有恐惧,它们是大自然的看守者,——是连接一个个生气勃勃的白昼的链环。等我口到家里,发现已有访客来过,他们还留下了名片呢,不是一束花,便是一个常春树的花环,或用铅笔写在黄色的胡桃叶或者木片上的一个名字。不常进入森林的人常把森林中的小玩意儿一路上拿在手里玩,有时故意,有时偶然,把它们留下了。有一位剥下了柳树皮,做成一个戒指,丢在我桌上。在我出门时有没有客人来过,我总能知道,不是树枝或青草弯倒,便是有了鞋印,一般说,从他们留下的微小痕迹里我还可以猜出他们的年龄、性别和性格;有的掉下了花朵,有的抓来一把草,又扔掉,甚至还有一直带到半英里外的铁路边才扔下的呢;有时,雪茄烟或烟斗味道还残留不散。常常我还能从烟斗的香味注意到六十杆之外公路上行经的一个旅行者。

  我们周围的空间该说是很大的了。我们不能一探手就触及地平线。蓊郁的森林或湖沼并不就在我的门口,中间总还有着一块我们熟悉而且由我们使用的空地,多少整理过了,还围了点篱笆,它仿佛是从大自然的手里被夺取得来的。为了什么理由,我要有这么大的范围和规模,好多平方英里的没有人迹的森林,遭人类遗弃而为我所私有了呢?

  最接近我的邻居在一英里外,看不到什么房子,除非登上那半里之外的小山山顶去瞭望,才能望见一点儿房屋。我的地平线全给森林包围起来,专供我自个享受,极目远望只能望见那在湖的一端经过的铁路和在湖的另一端沿着山林的公路边上的篱笆。大体说来,我居住的地方,寂寞得跟生活在大草原上一样。在这里离新英格兰也像离亚洲和非洲一样遥远。可以说,我有我自己的太阳、月亮和星星,我有一个完全属于我自己的小世界。

  从没有一个人在晚上经过我的屋子,或叩我的门,我仿佛是人类中的第一个人或最后一个人,除非在春天里,隔了很长久的时候,有人从村里来钓鳘鱼,——在瓦尔登湖中,很显然他们能钓到的只是他们自己的多种多样的性格,而钩子只能钩到黑夜而已——他们立刻都撤走了,常常是鱼篓很轻地撤退的,又把“世界留给黑夜和我”,而黑夜的核心是从没有被任何人类的邻舍污染过的。我相信,人们通常还都有点儿害怕黑暗,虽然妖巫都给吊死了,基督教和蜡烛火也都已经介绍过来。

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