November 30, 1851 in Thoreau’s Journal:
The squirrel is always an unexpectedly large animal to see frisking about. My eye wanders across the valley to the pine woods which fringe the opposite side, and in their aspect my eye finds something which addresses itself to my nature. Methinks that in my mood I was asking nature to give me a sign— I do not know exactly what it was that attracted my eye— I experienced a transient gladness at any rate at something which I saw. I am sure that my eye rested with pleasure on the white pines now reflecting a silvery light—the infinite stories of their boughs—tier above tier—a sort of basaltic structure—a crumbling precipice of pine horizontally stratified. Each pine is like a great green feather stuck in the ground. A myriad white pine boughs extend themselves horizontally one above & behind another each bearing its burden of silvery sun-light—with darker seams between them—as if it were a great crumbling piny precipice thus stratified—On this my eyes pastured while the squirrels were up the trees behind me. That at any rate it was that I got by my afternoon walk —a certain recognition from the pine. some congratulation. Where is my home? It is indistinct as a old cellar hole now a faint indentation merely in a farmer’s field—which he has ploughed into & rounded off its edges—years ago and I sit by the old site on the stump of an oak which once grew there. Such is the nature where we have lived— Thick birch groves stand here & there dark brown? now with white lines more or less distinct—
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