March 28, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How charming the contrast of land and water, especially where there is a temporary island in the flood with its new and tender shores of waving outline, so withdrawn, yet habitable; above all if it rises into a hill high above the water, so contrasting with it the more, and, if that hill is wooded, suggesting wildness. Our vernal lakes have a beauty to my mind which they would not possess if they were more permanent. Everything is in rapid flux here, suggesting that nature is alive to her extremities and superficies.

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To-day we sail swiftly on dark rolling waves, or paddle over a sea as smooth as a mirror, unable to touch the bottom where mowers work and hide their jugs in August, coasting the edge of maple swamps where alder tassels and white-maple flowers are kissing the tide that has risen to meet them. But this particular phase of beauty is fleeting. Nature has so many shows for us she cannot afford to give much time to this In a few days, perchance, these lakes will all have run away to the sea….in nature it is constant surprise and novelty….

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