May 18, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Lady’s-slipper almost fully blossomed…. The shrub oaks are now blossoming. The scarlet tanagers are come. The oak leaves of all colors are just expanding, and are more beautiful than most flowers. The hickory buds are almost leaves. The landscape has a new life and light infused into it. The deciduous trees are springing, to countenance the pines, which are evergreen. It seems to take but one summer day to fetch the summer in. The turning-point between winter and summer is reached.  The birds are in full blast. There is a peculiar freshness about the landscape; you scent the fragrance of new leaves, of hickory and sassafras, etc. And to the eye the forest presents the tenderst green. The blooming of the apple trees is becoming general.

May 17, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

In the case of the early aspen you could almost see the leaves expand and acquire a darker green––this to be said the 12th or 13th or 14th––under the influence of the sun and genial atmosphere. Now they are only as big as a nine pence, to-morrow or sooner they are as big as a pistareen, and the next day they are as big as a dollar. This from its far greater prevalence than the aspens, balm-of-Gilead, white maples, etc., is the first to give the woodlands anywhere generally a (fresh) green aspect. It is the first to clothe large tracts of deciduous woodlands with green, and perchance it marks an epoch in the season, the transition decidedly and generally from bare twigs to leaves. When the birches have put on their green sacks, then a new season has come. The light reflected from their tender yellowish green is like sunlight. 

May 16, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The inconspicuous white blossom of the gold-thread is detected amid them, but you are more struck by the bright-golden thread of its root when you pull it up. 

May 15, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Trees generally are now bursting into leaf.  The aspect of oak and other woods at a distance is somewhat like that of a very thick & reddish or yellowish mist about the evergreens— In other directions the light graceful—& more distinct yellowish green forms of birches are seen—& in swamps the reddish or reddish brown crescents of the red maple tops—now covered with keys— Oak leaves are as big as mouse ear & farmers are busy planting.

May 14, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal

Most men can be easily transplanted from here there, for they have so little root — no tap-root — or their roots penetrate so little way, that you can thrust a shovel quite under them and take them up, roots and all.

May 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The shad blossom…a very beautiful delicate flower….with its purplish stipules & delicate drooping white blossoms— — So large & graceful a tree or bush— 

The shad blossom days in the woods.

May 12, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The V. cucullata are large and conspicuous on Barrett’s side-hill. The ovata blue the ground in the Boulder Field. These and the pedata are all more or less lilac-colored, and it produces a pleasing bewilderment to pass from clump to clump, and one species to another, and say which is the most lilac. Putting one cluster beside another more lilac, the first no longer seems lilac at all. Has not violet then always some lilac in it?

May 11, 1852

In Thoreau’s Journal:

Sunrise, —merely a segment of a circle of rich amber in the east, growing brighter and brighter at one point. There is no rosy color at this moment and not a speck in the sky, and now comes the sun with out pomp, a bright liquid gold. Dews come with the grass. There is, I find on examining, a small, clear drop at the end of each blade, quite at the top on one side.

May 10, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The rain is making the grass grow apace– It appears to stand upright–its blades and you can almost see it grow. For some reason I now remember the autumn–the succory & the golden-rod. We remember autumn to best advantage in the spring–the fine aroma of it reaches us then. Are those the young keys of sugar maples that I see? The Canada? (N Brook’s) plum in bloom & a cherry tree. How closely the flower follows upon if it does not precede the leaf! The leaves are but calyx & escort to the flower. Some beds of clover wave…

May 8, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How dead would the globe seem—especially at this season if it were not for these water surfaces…We are slow to realize water—the beauty & magic of it. It is interestingly strange forever….

I look round with a thrill on this bright fluctuating surface on which no man can walk—whereon is—no trace of foot step—unstained as glass.

May 6, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How important is a constant intercourse with nature and the contemplation of natural phenomenon to the preservation of Moral & intellectual health.

The discipline of the schools or of business—can never impart such serenity to the mind.

May 5, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Green herbs of all kinds, — buttercups, etc., etc., etc., now make more or less show.

Put this with the grassy season’s beginning.

May 3, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How cheering & glorious any landscape viewed from an eminence! 

For every one has its horizon & sky. It is so easy to take wide views.

May 1, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Found the first Violet….

The woods have a damp smell this morning — I hear a robin amid them….The grass ground—low ground at least wears a good green tinge now.

April 30, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Bluets out on the bank by Tarbell’s spring brook, maybe a day or two.

This was a very warm as well as pleasant day, but at one o’clock there was the usual fresh easterly wind and sea-turn, and before night it grew quite cold for the season. The regularity of the recurrence of this phenomenon is remarkable. I have noticed [it], at least, on the 24th late in the day, the 28th and the 29th about 3 p. m., and to-day at 1 p. M. It has been the order. Early in the afternoon, or between one and four, the wind changes (I suppose, though I did not notice its direction in the forenoon), and a fresh cool wind from the sea produces a mist in the air.