January 11, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I cannot afford to be telling my experience, especially to those who perhaps will take no interest in it. I wish to be getting experience…


I demand of my companion some evidence that he has traveled rather than to the sources of the Nile, that he has been OUT OF TOWN, OUT OF THE HOUSE, not that he can tell a good story, but that he can keep a good silence. Has he attended to a silence more significant than any story? Did he ever get out of the road which all men and fools travel? You call yourself a great traveler, perhaps, but can you get beyond the influence of a certain class of ideas?

January 8, 1842

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When, as now, in January a south wind melts the snow, and the bare ground appears covered with sere grass and occasionally wilted green leaves, which seem in doubt whether to let go their greenness quite or absorb new juices against the coming year,


in such a season a perfume seems to exhale from the earth itself…

January 7, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This cold and solitude are friends of mine. I suppose that this value, in my case, is equivalent to what others get by church-going and prayer. I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home.


I thus dispose of the superfluous, and see things are they are, grand and beautiful. I have told many that I walk every day about half the daylight, but I think they do not believe it. I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America, out of my head and be sane a part of every day.

January 6, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I look up a fragment of a walnut shell this morning, I saw by its grain and composition, its form and color, etc., that is was made for happiness. The most brutish and inanimate objects that are made suggest an everlasting and thorough satisfaction. They are the homes of content. Wood, earth, mould, etc., exist for joy.

a beech nut husk on snow, January 2, 2016


January 5, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

To-day the trees are white with snow,—I mean their stems and branches,—and have the true wintery look on the storm side.


Not till this has winter come to the forest. It looks like the small frost-work in the path and on the windows now, especially the oak woods at a distance, and you see better the form which the branches take. That is a picture of winter…

January 4, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

After spending four or five days surveying and drawing a plan, incessantly, I especially feel the need of putting myself in communication with nature again to recover my tone, to withdraw out of the wearying and unprofitable world of affairs. The things I have been doing have but a fleeting and accidental importance, however much men are immersed in them, and yield very little valuable fruit.


I would fain have been wading through the woods and fields, and conversing with the sane snow. Having waded in the very shallowest stream of time, I would now bathe my temples in eternity. I wish again to participate in the serenity of nature, to share the happiness of the river and the woods.

January 3, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I love nature partly because she is not man, but a retreat from him.


None of his institutions control or pervade her.  Here a different kind of right prevails….The joy which nature yields is like that afforded by the frank words of one we love.

January 2, 1841

P1225170.jpgin Thoreau’s Journal:

I stopped short in the path to-day to admire how the trees grow up without forethought, regardless of the time and circumstances.  They do not wait, as men do.  Now is the golden age of the sapling; earth, air, sun, and rain are occasion enough.