Wednesday 10 June 2015

E. B. White's "Once More to the Lake"

It was a family tradition.  Every August, E. B. White . author of the infamous Charlotte's Web, and his parents would pack up their automobile and head to a resort in Maine.  White looked forward to the crystal blue lake, the biting fish, the dragonflies, the serenity.  The fact that it never changed was a source of comfort to White.  Years later, White took his son to the same lake.  Now White was the adult and his son was the child.  The lake hadn't changed.  The fish were still biting.  The dragonflies still flitted about.  The only sound to break the tranquility were the outboard motors.  But despite the new technology, White was still amused by the dragonflies.  And now he could relive the experience through his son's eyes.

Here is an excerpt from Once More to the Lake, first published in 1941 in Harper's Magazine (

"We went fishing the first morning.  I felt the same damp moss covering the worms in the bait can, and saw the dragonfly alight on the tip of my rod as it hovered a few inches from the surface of the water.  It was the arrival of this fly that convince me beyond any doubt that everything was as it had always been, that the years were a mirage and there had been no years.  The small waves were the same chucking the rowboat under the chin as we fished at anchor, and the boat was the same boat, the same colour green and the ribs broken in the same places, and under the floor boards the same freshwater leavings and debris -- the dead helgramite, the wisps of moss, the rusty discarded fishhook, the dried blood from yesterday's catch."

Courtesy of Penobscot Marine Museum – Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company Collection

Belgrade Lakes, Maine photo courtesy

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