The Distiller of Celestial Dews

“Perhaps on that spring morning when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in existence, and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain accompanied with the mist and a southerly wind, and covered with myriads of ducks and geese, which had not heard of the fall, when still such pure lakes sufficed them. Even then it had commenced to rise and all, and had clarified its waters and colored them the hue they now wear, and obtained the patent of heaven to be the only Walden Pond in the world and the distiller of celestial dews. (pg. 250)

Can I just say how much I hate the phrase “distiller of celestial dews?” And this may be an immature point to focus my post on, but it is a terrible phrase. The sound of it makes my skin crawl. “The distiller of celestial dews.” It is the epitome of pretentious, purple prose quotes that make people look at this book and sigh in absolute defeat before even reading the damned book. For as much as he talks about living simply, nothing can simply be. Walden pond can not just be a pond, it must be gods perfect little pond. And remember this is after Thoreau has pointed out that Walden pond was not a grand area: “The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore…” (pg. 247). To read the chapter you would think Thoreau had ascended to enlightenment at Walden pond (and perhaps he believes he did).

It bothers me because I think there are simpler sections (like the part where he loses his axe at the bottom of the lake or the part where he can see the ripples on the lake from one insect all the way at the shore) that explain the idea he’s trying to get across in a much more accessible way. He is saying the water is clear and calm and that that is a rarity in more civilized water sources.

Perhaps you might be saying that “she’s just mad because she doesn’t understand ‘art.'” And yeah, maybe I don’t get why you would want to slog through the beginning of the chapter with abstract imagery that seems to draw me away from the place in question. Maybe there are people for which these images connect better for, but for me it just leaves me lost reading and rereading the same paragraph.