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瓦尔登湖:种豆

2006-07-29 00:37

  Meanwhile my beans, the length of whose rows, added together,was seven miles already planted, were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground; indeed they were not easily to be put off.  What was the meaning of this so steady and self-respecting, this small Herculean labor, I knew not.  I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted.  They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antaeus.  But why should I raise them?  Only Heaven knows.  This was my curious labor all summer —— to make this portion of the earth's surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil,blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse.  What shall I learn of beans or beans of me?  I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late I have an eye to them; and this is my day's work.  It is a fine broad leaf to look on.  My auxiliaries are the dews and rains which water this dry soil, and what fertility is in the soil itself, which for the most part is lean and effete.  My enemies are worms, cool days,and most of all woodchucks.  The last have nibbled for me a quarter of an acre clean.  But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient herb garden?  Soon, however, the remaining beans will be too tough for them, and go forward to meet new foes.

  When I was four years old, as I well remember, I was brought from Boston to this my native town, through these very woods and this field, to the pond.  It is one of the oldest scenes stamped on my memory.  And now to-night my flute has waked the echoes over that very water.  The pines still stand here older than I; or, if some have fallen, I have cooked my supper with their stumps, and a new growth is rising all around, preparing another aspect for new infant eyes.  Almost the same johnswort springs from the same perennial root in this pasture, and even I have at length helped to clothe that fabulous landscape of my infant dreams, and one of the results of my presence and influence is seen in these bean leaves, corn blades, and potato vines.

  I planted about two acres and a half of upland; and as it was only about fifteen years since the land was cleared, and I myself had got out two or three cords of stumps, I did not give it any manure; but in the course of the summer it appeared by the arrowheads which I turned up in hoeing, that an extinct nation had anciently dwelt here and planted corn and beans ere white men came to clear the land, and so, to some extent, had exhausted the soil for this very crop.

  这时我的豆子,已经种好了的一行一行地加起来,长度总有七英里了吧,急待锄草松土,因为最后一批还没播种下去,最先一批已经长得很不错了;真是不容再拖延的了。

  这一桩赫拉克勒斯的小小劳役,干得这样卖力,这样自尊,到底有什么意思呢,我还不知道。我爱上了我的一行行的豆子,虽然它们已经超出我的需要很多了。它们使我爱上了我的土地,因此我得到了力量,像安泰一样。可是我为什么要种豆呢?只有天晓得。

  整个夏天,我都这样奇妙地劳动着——在大地表皮的这一块上,以前只长洋莓,狗尾草,黑莓之类,以及甜蜜的野果子和好看的花朵,而现在却让它来生长豆子了。我从豆子能学到什么,豆于从我身上又能学到什么呢?我珍爱它们,我为它们松土锄草,从早到晚照管它们;这算是我一天的工作。阔大的叶子真好看。我的助手是滋润这干燥泥土的露水和雨点。而泥土本身又含有何等的肥料,虽说其中有大部分土地是贫瘠和枯竭的。虫子,寒冷的日子,尤其土拨鼠则是我的敌人。土拨鼠吃光了我一英亩地的四分之一。可是我又有什么权利拔除狗尾草之类的植物,毁坏它们自古以来的百草园呢?好在剩下的豆子立刻就会长得十分茁壮,可以去对付一些新的敌人了。

  我记得很清楚,我四岁的时候,从波士顿迁移到我这个家乡来,曾经经过这座森林和这片土地,还到过湖边。这是铭刻在我记忆中的往日最早的景象之一。今夜,我的笛声又唤醒了这同一湖水的回声。松树还站在那里,年龄比我大;或者,有的已被砍伐了,我用它们的根来煮饭,新的松树已在四周生长,给新一代人的眼睛以别一番的展望。就从这牧场上的同一根多年老根上又长出了几乎是同样的狗尾草,甚至我后来都还给我几时梦境中神话般的风景添上一袭新装,要知道我重返这里之后所发生的影响,请瞧这些豆子的叶子,玉米的尖叶以及土豆藤。我大约种了两英亩半的冈地;这片地大约十五年前还被砍伐过一次,我挖出了两三“考德”的树根来,我没有施肥;在这个夏天的那些日子里,我锄地时还翻起了一些箭头来,看来从前,在白人来砍伐之前,就有一个已经消失了的古代民族曾在这里住过,还种过玉米和豆子吧,所以,在一定程度上,他们已经耗尽了地力,有过收获了。

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