January 30, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

You glance up these paths, closely imbowered by bent trees, as through the side aisles of as cathedral, and expect to hear a quire chanting from their depths. You are never so far in them as they are far before you. Their secret is where you are not, and where your feet can never carry you.

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I tread in the tracks of the fox which has gone before me by some hours, or which perhaps I have started, with such a tiptoe of expectation, as if I were on the trail of the spirit itself which resides in these woods, and expected soon to catch it in its lair.

The snow falls on no two trees alike, but the forms it assumes are as various as those of the twigs and leaves which receive it.

Here is the distinct trail of a fox stretching quarter of a mile across the pond.  Now I am curious to know what has determined its graceful curvatures, its greater or less spaces and distinctness, and how surely they were coincident with the fluctuations of some mind….

The pond was his journal, and last nights snow made a tabla rasa for him.  I know which way a mind wended this morning. —what horizon it faced by the setting of these tracks—whether it moved slowly or rapidly….

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