Out of the Past

Thoreau

December 11





 Essays

         
Sunday. P. M. -To Heywood's Pond and up brook. Almost a complete Indian-summer day, clear and warm. I am without greatcoat. Channing says he saw larks yesterday, a painted tortoise day before yesterday under ice at White Pond.

We find Heywood's Pond frozen five inches thick. There have been some warm suns on it, and it is handsomely marbled. I find, on looking closely, that there is an indistinct and irregular crack or cleavage in the middle of each dark mark, and I have no doubt the marbling is produced thus, viz., the pond, at first all dark, cracks under a change of temperature, it is expanded and cracked in a thousand directions, and at the same time it gradually grows white as the air-bubbles expand, but wherever there is a crack in it, it interferes with the rays of heat, and the ice for a short distance on each side of it retains its original color. The forms unto which the ice first cracks under a higher temperature determine the character of the marbling.



R.W. E. told me that W.H. Channing conjectured that the landscape looked fairer when we turned our heads, because we beheld it with nerves of the eye unused before. Perhaps this reason is worth more for suggestion than explanation. It occurs to me that the reflection of objects in still water is in a similar manner fairer than the substance, and yet we do not employ unused nerves to behold it. Is it not that we let much more light into our eyes - which in the usual position are shaded by the brows - in the first case by turning them more to the sky, and in the case of the reflections by having the sky placed under our feet? i. e. in both cases we see terrestrial objects with the sky or heavens for a background or field . Accordingly they are not dark and terrene, but lit and elysian.

Saw a mink at Clamshell Hill on ice. They show the back in swimming.
1853

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