Thoreau Thursdays (42): Earth’s Eye

February 2, 2012

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.  It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.  The fluviatile trees next to the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.”
—  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Crater Lake panorama from three photos, 1998

“The eyes are the window of the soul.”
— Proverb

If eyes are the window of the soul, and lakes are earth’s eyes, then lakes are one of the windows of Nature’s soul.  We cannot live without water.  It is no wonder that we are stirred when we peer into a lake’s depths.  In the words of another proverb, “Still waters run deep.”

“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.”
— William Wordsworth

“Perhaps truth depends on a walk around the lake.”
— Wallace Stevens

The most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen is Crater Lake in Oregon.  It is the deepest lake in the United States (with a depth of 1,932 feet), and it is the bluest blue in the color spectrum.  Crater Lake is situated in the caldera of a volcano that last erupted about 7,700 years ago.  The waters accumulated from springs, snow melt and rain.  Part of our national park system, Crater Lake is held in trust for everyone’s enjoyment.  In the summer, you can drive around it on a 33-mile rim road.

Wizard Island, a cinder cone in Crater Lake (photo 1998)

Map of Crater Lake National Park rim drive

I’m thankful to Thoreau for reminding me about beautiful lakes.  It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the time to visit Crater Lake.  I think it’s time to plan another road trip there.

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