In Cohush Swamp the sumach leaves have turned a very deep red, but have not lost their fragrance. I notice wild apples growing luxuriantly in the midst of the swamp, rising red over the colored, painted leaves of the sumach, and reminding me that they were ripened and colored by the same influences, –some green, some yellow, some red, like the leaves.
It is a beautifully clear and bracing air with just enough coolness full of the memory of frosty morning––through which all things are distinctly seen & the fields look as smooth as velvet––
The fragrance of grapes is on the breeze & the red drooping barberries sparkle amid the leaves…
the forests have a singularly rounded & bowery look clothing the hills quite down to the water’s edge & leaving no shore; the Ponds are like drops of dew amid and partly covering the leaves. So the great globe is luxuriously crowded without margin.
The maples begin to be ripe. How beautiful when a whole maple on the edge of a swamp is like one great scarlet fruit—full of ripe juices— A sign of the ripening—every leaf from lowest limb to topmost spire— is a-glow.
Not a fish can leap or an insect fall on it but it is reported in lines of beauty—in circling dimples—as it were the constant welling up of its fountain—the gentle pulsing of its life—the heaving of its breast. The thrills of joy & those of pain are indistinguishable. How sweet the phenomena of the lake—! Everything that moves on its surface produces a sparkle. The peaceful Pond!
Nature never makes haste; her systems revolve at an even pace. The bud swells imperceptibly, without hurry or confusion, as though the short spring days were an eternity. All her operations seem separately, for the time, the single object for which all things tarry. Why, then, should man hasten as if anything less than eternity were allotted for the least deed? Let him consume never so many æons, so that he go about the meanest task well, though it be but the paring of his nails. If the setting sun seems to hurry him to improve the day while it lasts, the chant of the crickets fails not to reassure him, even-measured as of old, teaching him to take his own time henceforth forever.
I am invited to take some party of ladies or gentlemen on an excursion, – to walk or sail, or the like, – but by all kinds of evasions I omit it, and am thought to be rude and unaccommodating therefore. They do not consider that the wood-path and the boat are my studio, where I maintain a sacred solitude and cannot admit promiscuous company. I will see them occasionally in an evening or at the table, however. They do not think of taking a child away from its school to go a-huckleberrying with them. Why should not I, then, have my school and school hours to be respected? Ask me for a certain number of dollars if you will, but do not ask me for my afternoons.
Like the fruits, when cooler weather and frosts arrive, we too are braced and ripened. When we shift from the shady to the sunny side of the house, and sit there in an extra coat for warmth, our green and leafy and pulpy thoughts acquire color and flavor, and perchance a sweet nuttiness at last, worth your cracking.
There are various degrees of living out-of-doors. You must be outdoors long, early and late, and travel far and earnestly, in order to perceive the phenomena of the day. Even then much will escape you. Few live so far outdoors as to hear the first geese go over.
If you sit at an open attic window almost anywhere, about the 20th of September, you will see many a milkweed down go sailing by on a level with you, — though commonly it has lost its freight, —notwithstanding that you may not know of any of these plants growing in your neighborhood.
While the grass is fresh the earth is in its vigor. The greenness of the grass is the best symptom or evidence of the earth’s youth or health. Perhaps it will be found that when the grass ceases to be fresh & green or after June—the birds have ceased to sing—& the fireflies too no longer in myriads sparkle in the meadows—
A certain refinement & civilization in nature which increases with the wildness. The civilization that consists with wildness. The light that is in night. A smile as in a dream on the face of the sleeping lake. There is light enough to show what we see—what night has to exhibit—any more would obscure these objects.