Earth’s Eye

Thomas Cole's Long Lake Sketch 1846

“Nothing so fair, so pure, and at the same time so large, as a lake, perchance, lies on the surface of the earth. Sky water. It needs no fence. Nations come and go without defiling it. It is a mirror which no stone can crack, whose quicksilver will never wear off, whose gilding Nature continually repairs; no storms, no dust, can dim its surface ever fresh; a mirror in which all impurity presented to it sinks, swept and dusted by the sun’s hazy brush—this the light dust-cloth—which retains no breath that is breathed on it, but sends its own to float as clouds high above its surface, and be reflected in its bosom still.” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden p177

Thoreau’s description of Walden and other lakes in New England came to mind this weekend as I was canoeing and swimming with friends across Lake Cayuga, Ithaca’s own majestic mirror (albeit a crinklier one than Walden, given our weather). Continue reading