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瓦尔登湖:The Pond in Winter6

2006-07-29 18:57

  To speak literally, a hundred Irishmen, with Yankee overseers,came from Cambridge every day to get out the ice.  They divided it into cakes by methods too well known to require description, and these, being sledded to the shore, were rapidly hauled off on to an ice platform, and raised by grappling irons and block and tackle,worked by horses, on to a stack, as surely as so many barrels of flour, and there placed evenly side by side, and row upon row, as if they formed the solid base of an obelisk designed to pierce the clouds.  They told me that in a good day they could get out a thousand tons, which was the yield of about one acre.  Deep ruts and "cradle-holes" were worn in the ice, as on terra firma, by the passage of the sleds over the same track, and the horses invariably ate their oats out of cakes of ice hollowed out like buckets.  They stacked up the cakes thus in the open air in a pile thirty-five feet high on one side and six or seven rods square, putting hay between the outside layers to exclude the air; for when the wind, though never so cold, finds a passage through, it will wear large cavities,leaving slight supports or studs only here and there, and finally topple it down.  At first it looked like a vast blue fort or Valhalla; but when they began to tuck the coarse meadow hay into the crevices, and this became covered with rime and icicles, it looked like a venerable moss-grown and hoary ruin, built of azure-tinted marble, the abode of Winter, that old man we see in the almanac ——his shanty, as if he had a design to estivate with us.  They calculated that not twenty-five per cent of this would reach its destination, and that two or three per cent would be wasted in the cars.  However, a still greater part of this heap had a different destiny from what was intended; for, either because the ice was found not to keep so well as was expected, containing more air than usual, or for some other reason, it never got to market.  This heap,made in the winter of '46-7 and estimated to contain ten thousand tons, was finally covered with hay and boards; and though it was unroofed the following July, and a part of it carried off, the rest remaining exposed to the sun, it stood over that summer and the next winter, and was not quite melted till September, 1848.  Thus the pond recovered the greater part.

  Like the water, the Walden ice, seen near at hand, has a green tint, but at a distance is beautifully blue, and you can easily tell it from the white ice of the river, or the merely greenish ice of some ponds, a quarter of a mile off.  Sometimes one of those great cakes slips from the ice-man's sled into the village street, and lies there for a week like a great emerald, an object of interest to all passers.  I have noticed that a portion of Walden which in the state of water was green will often, when frozen, appear from the same point of view blue.  So the hollows about this pond will,sometimes, in the winter, be filled with a greenish water somewhat like its own, but the next day will have frozen blue.  Perhaps the blue color of water and ice is due to the light and air they contain, and the most transparent is the bluest.  Ice is an interesting subject for contemplation.  They told me that they had some in the ice-houses at Fresh Pond five years old which was as good as ever.  Why is it that a bucket of water soon becomes putrid,but frozen remains sweet forever?  It is commonly said that this is the difference between the affections and the intellect.

  Thus for sixteen days I saw from my window a hundred men at work like busy husbandmen, with teams and horses and apparently all the implements of farming, such a picture as we see on the first page of the almanac; and as often as I looked out I was reminded of the fable of the lark and the reapers, or the parable of the sower, and the like; and now they are all gone, and in thirty days more,probably, I shall look from the same window on the pure sea-green Walden water there, reflecting the clouds and the trees, and sending up its evaporations in solitude, and no traces will appear that a man has ever stood there.  Perhaps I shall hear a solitary loon laugh as he dives and plumes himself, or shall see a lonely fisher in his boat, like a floating leaf, beholding his form reflected in the waves, where lately a hundred men securely labored.

  Thus it appears that the sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well.  In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat-Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions.  I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug.  I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well.  The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.  With favoring winds it is wafted past the site of the fabulous islands of Atlantis and the Hesperides, makes the periplus of Hanno, and, floating by Ternate and Tidore and the mouth of the Persian Gulf, melts in the tropic gales of the Indian seas, and is landed in ports of which Alexander only heard the names.

  老老实实他说,是一百个爱尔兰人,由北方佬监工带领,每天从剑桥来这里挖冰。

  他们把冰切成一方块一方块,那方法是大家都知道的,无须描写的了,这些冰块放在雪车上,车到了岸边,迅疾地拖到一个冰站上,那里再用马匹拖的铁手、滑车、索具搬到一个台上,就像一桶一桶面粉一样,一块一块排列着,又一排一排地叠起来,好像他们要叠一个耸入云霄的方塔的基础一样。他们告诉我,好好地工作一天,可以挖起一千吨来,那是每一英亩地的出产数字。深深的车辙和安放支架的摇篮洞,都在冰上出现,正如在大地上一样,因为雪车在上面来回的次数走得多了,而马匹就在挖成桶形的冰块之中吃麦子。他们这样在露天叠起了一堆冰块来,高三十五英尺,约六七杆见方,在外面一层中间放了干草,以排除空气;因为风虽然空前料峭,还可以在中间找到路线,裂出很大的洞来,以致这里或那里就没有什么支撑了,到最后会全部倒翻。最初,我看这很像一个巨大的蓝色的堡垒,一个伐尔哈拉殿堂;可是他们开始把粗糙的草皮填塞到隙缝中间去了,于是上面有了白霜和冰柱,看起来像一个古色古香的,生满了苔藓的灰白的废墟,全部是用蓝色大理石构成的冬神的住所,像我们在历本上看到的画片一样,——他的陋室,好像他计划同我们一起度过夏季。据他们的估计,这中间百分之二十五到不了目的地,百分之二、三将在车子中损失。然而这一堆中,更大的一部分的命运和当初的原意不同;因为这些冰或者是不能保藏得像意想的那么好,它里面有比之一般更多的空气,或者是由于另外的原因,这一部分冰就一直没能送到市场上。这一堆,在一八四六——一八四七年垒起来的,据估计共有一万吨重,后来用于草和木板钉了起来,第二年七月开了一次箱,一部分拿走了,其余的就曝露在太阳底下,整个夏天,站着度过去了,这年的冬天,也还是度过去了,直到一八四八年的九月,它还没有全部溶化掉。最后,湖还是把它们的一大部分收了回来。

  像湖水一样,瓦尔登的冰,近看是绿的,可是从远处望去,它蓝蓝的很美,你很容易就辨别出来了,那是河上的白冰,或是四分之一英里外的湖上的只是微绿的冰,而这是瓦尔登的冰。有时候,从挖冰人的雪车上,有一大块冰掉在村中街道上,躺在那里有一星期,像一块很大的翡翠,引起所有过路人的兴趣。我注意到瓦尔登的一个部分,它的水是绿的,一俟冻结之后,从同一观察点望去,它成了蓝色。所以在湖边的许多低洼地,有时候,在冬天,充满了像它一样的绿色的水,可是到了第二天,我发现它们已冻成了蓝色的冰。也许水和冰的蓝色是由它们所包含的光和空气造成的,最透明的,也就是最蓝的。冰乃是沉思的一个最有趣的题目。他们告诉我,他们有一些冰,放在富莱喜湖的冰栈中已有五年,还是很好的冰。为什么一桶水放久了要臭,而冻冰以后,却永远甘美呢?一般人说这正如情感和理智之间的不同。

  所以一连十六天,我从我的窗口,看到一百个人,忙忙碌碌,像农夫一样地工作,成群结队,带着牲口和显然一应俱全的农具,这样的图画我们常常在历书的第一页上看到的;每次从窗口望出去,我常常想到云雀和收割者的寓言,或者那撒播者的譬喻,等等;现在,他们都走掉了,大约又过了三十天之后,我又从这同一窗口,眺望纯粹的海绿色的瓦尔登湖水了,它反映着云和树木,把它蒸发的水汽寂寥地送上天空,一点也看不出曾经有人站在它的上面。也许我又可以听到一只孤独的潜水鸟钻入水底,整理羽毛,放声大笑,或许我可以看到一个孤独的渔夫坐在船上,扁舟一叶,而他的形态倒映在这一面水波上,可是不久以前就在这里,有一百个人安全地站着工作过呢。

  似乎紧跟着将要有查尔斯顿和新奥尔良,马德拉斯,孟买和加尔各答的挥汗如雨的居民,在我的井中饮水。在黎明中我把我的智力沐浴在《对话录》的宏伟宇宙的哲学中,自从这一部史诗完成了之后,神仙的岁月也不知已逝去了多少,而和它一比较,我们的近代世界以及它的文学显得多么地猥琐而藐小啊;我还怀疑,这一种哲学是否不仅仅限于从前的生存状态,它的崇高性,距离着我们的观点是这样地遥远啊!我放下了书本,跑到我的井边去喝水。瞧啊!在那里,我遇到了婆罗门教的仆人,梵天和毗瑟奴和因陀罗的僧人,他还是坐在恒河上,他的神庙中,读着他们的吠陀经典,或住在一棵树的根上,只有一些面包屑和一个水钵。我遇到他的仆人来给他的主人汲水,我们的桶子好像在同一井内碰撞。瓦尔登的纯粹的水已经和恒河的圣水混合了。柔和的风吹送着,这水波流过了阿特兰蒂斯和海斯贝里底斯这些传说中的岛屿,流过饭能,流过特尔纳特,蒂达尔和波斯湾的入口,在印度洋的热带风中汇流,到达连亚历山大也只听到过名字的一些港埠。

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