May 30, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I am surprised to find arethusa abundantly out in Hubbards Close, maybe 2 or 3 days though not yet at Arethusa Meadow probably on account of the recent freshet. It is so leafless that it shoots up unexpectedly.  It is all color, a little hook of purple flame projecting from the meadow into the air. Some are comparatively pale. This high-colored plant shoots up suddenly, all flower, in meadows where it is wet walking.  A superb flower.

May 29, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

That exceedingly neat & interesting little flower blue-eyed grass now claims our attention.

The barrenest pastures wear now a green & luxuriant aspect.

May 28, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The bulbous arethusa out a day or two––prob. yesterday….Though in a measure prepared for it, still its beauty surprised me––it is by far the highest & richest color yet.

Its intense color in the midst of the green meadow made it look twice as large as reality. It looks very foreign in the midst of our plants.––

May 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The fringed polygala near the Corner Spring is a delicate flower with very fresh tender green leaves & red-purple blossoms. 

Beautiful from the contrast of its clear red purple flowers with its clear green leaves.

May 26, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The air is full of the odor of apple blossoms––  Yet the air is fresh as from the salt water. 

The meadow smells sweet as you go along low places in the road at sundown.  To night I hear many crickets. They have commenced their song. They bring in the summer.

May 25, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A fine, freshening air, a little hazy, that bathes and washes everything, saving the day from extreme heat. Walked to the hills south of Wayland by the road by Deacon Farrar’s. First vista just beyond Merron’s (?), looking west down a valley, with a verdant-columned elm at the extremity of the vale and the blue hills and horizon beyond. These are the resting-places in a walk. We love to see any part of the earth tinged with blue, cerulean, the color of the sky, the celestial color. I wonder that houses are not oftener located mainly that they may command particular rare prospects, every convenience yielding to this. The farmer would never suspect what it was you were buying, and such sites would be the cheapest of any. A site where you might avail yourself of the art of Nature for three thousand years, which could never be materially changed or taken from you, a noble inheritance for your children. The true sites for human dwellings are unimproved. They command no price in the market. Men will pay something to look into a travelling showman’s box, but not to look upon the fairest prospects on the earth.

A vista where you have the near green horizon contrasted with the distant blue one, terrestrial with celestial earth. The prospect of a vast horizon must be accessible in our neighborhood. Where men of enlarged views may be educated. An unchangeable kind of wealth, a real estate.

May 24, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How perfectly new and fresh the world is seen to be, when we behold a myriad sparkles of brilliant, white sunlight on a rippled stream. So remote from dust and decay, more bright than the flash of an ey

May 23, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Every new flower that opens, no doubt, expresses a new mood of the human mind.

Have I any dark or ripe orange-yellow thoughts to correspond? The flavor of my thoughts begins to correspond.

May 19, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This is the season when the meadow grass is seen waving in the wind at the same time that the shadows of clouds are passing over it.

May 17, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I sit now on a rock on the west slope of Fair Haven orchard, an hour before sunset, this warm, almost sultry evening, the air filled with the sweetness of apple blossoms (this is blossom week) — or I think it is mainly that meadow fragrance still — the sun partly concealed behind a low cloud in the west, the air cleared by last evening’s thunder-shower, the river now beautifully smooth (though a warm, bland breeze blows up here), full of light and reflecting the placid western sky and the dark woods which overhang it. I was surprised, on turning round, to behold the serene and everlasting beauty of the world, it was so soothing, I saw that I could not go home to supper and lose it. It was so much fairer, serener, more beautiful, than my mood had been.

The fields beyond the river have unexpectedly a smooth, lawn-like beauty, and in beautiful curves sweep round the edge of the woods. The rapidly expanding foliage of the deciduous trees (last evening’s rain or moisture has started them) lights up with a lively yellow green the dark pines which we have so long been used to. Some patches (I speak of woods half a mile or more off) are a lively green, some gray or reddish-gray still, where white oaks stand. With the stillness of the air comes the stillness of the water. The sweetest singers among the birds are heard more distinctly now, as the reflections are seen more distinctly in the water — the veery constantly now. Methinks this serene, ambrosial beauty could hardly have been but for last evening’s thunder-shower, which, to be sure, barely touched us, but cleared the air and gave a start to vegetation. The elm on the opposite side of the river has now a thin but dark verdure, almost as dark as the pines, while, as I have said, the prevailing color of the deciduous woods is a light yellowish and sunny green. The woods rarely if ever present a more beautiful aspect from afar than now. Methinks the black oak at early leafing is more red than the red oak. Ah, the beauty of this last hour of the day — when a power stills the air and smooths all waters and all minds — that partakes of the light of the day and the stillness of the night!

May 16, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I was ready to say that I had seen no more beautiful flower than the dandelion. That has the vernal scent.

How many flowers have no peculiar, but only this simple vernal, fragrance?

May 15, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I looked again on the forest from this hill, which view may contrast with that of last Sunday. The mist produced by the leafing of the deciduous trees has greatly thickened now and lost much of its reddishness in the lighter green of expanding leaves, has become a brownish or yellowish green, except where it has attained distinctness in the light-green foliage of the birch, the earliest distinct foliage visible in extensive great masses at a great distance, the aspen not being common. The pines and other evergreens are now fast being merged in a sea of foliage.

May 12, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Some grass is seen to wave in the distance on the side of N. Barrett’s warm hill, showing the lighter under sides. That is a soft, soothing, June-like impression when the most forward grass is seen to wave and the sorrel looks reddish. The year has the down of youth on its cheek. This, too, is the era of the bobolink, now, when apple trees are ready to burst into bloom. Now it is too late to retreat from the summer adventure. You have passed the Rubicon, and will spend your summer here. Lately, for a few days, the note of the pine warbler rang through the woods, but now it is lost in the notes of other birds. Then each song was solo. Its vetter vetter vetter vetter rang through silent woods. Now I rarely hear it. A yellow butterfly.