February 29, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

From Pine Hill looking westward I see the snow-crust shine in the sun as far as the eye can reach, ––snow which fell yesterday morning. Then before the night came the rain, then in the night the freezing northwest wind, and where day before yesterday half the ground was bare, is this sheeny snow-crust to-day.


February 28, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


To-day it snows again covering the ground. To get the value of the storm, we must be out a long time and travel far in it, so that it may fairly penetrate our skin, and we be, as it were, turned inside out to it, and there be no part in us but is wet or weather-beaten so that we become storm men, instead of fair-weather men.

February 27, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A week or two ago I brought home a handsome pitch pine cone, which had freshly fallen, and was closed perfectly tight. It was put into a table-drawer. To-day I am agreeably surprised that it has there dried and opened…. That hard, closed cone, which defied all violent attempts to open it, and could only be cut open, had thus yielded to the gentle persuasion of warmth and dryness.


The expanding of the pine cones, that, too, is a season.

February 24, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A fine spring morning. The ground is almost completely bare again. There has been a frost in the night. Now at half past eight it is melted and wets my feet like a dew. The water on the meadow this still bright morning is smooth as in April. I am surprised to hear the strain of a song-sparrow from the river side, and as I cross from the causeway to the hill, thinking of the bluebird,


I that instant hear one’s note from deep in the softened air…Their short rich warble curls through the air…It seems to be one of those early springs of which we have heard, but which we have never experienced.

Winter 1846

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Why should we live with such hurry & bustle—let us spend one day as deliberately as nature— Let us rise early & fast or break fast gently and without noise—


What if the milk-man does not come in season, white wash our coffee—let us murmur an inward prayer that we may be sustained under this trial & forget him Let company come & let company go determined to make a day of it. Let the bells ring & the children cry why should we knock under—& go with the stream.

February 21, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A little snow lodged on the N side of the woods gives them a hoary aspect–a mere sugaring however– The snow has just ceased falling about 2 inches deep in the woods upon the old & on bare ground–but there is scarcely a track of any animal yet to be seen….You cannot walk too early in new fallen snow—to get the sense of purity novelty & unexploredness.


The snow has lodged more or less in perpendicular lines on the northerly sides of trees so that I am able to tell the points of compass as well as by the sun. I guide myself accordingly—

February 20, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

What is the relation between a bird and the ear that appreciates its melody, to whom, perchance, it is more charming and significant than to any one else? If I were to discover that a certain kind of stone by the pond shore was affected, say partially disintegrated, by a particular natural sound, as of a bird or insect, I see that one could not be completely described without describing the other.

PA186628.jpgI am that stone by the pond side.

February 19, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The sky appears broader now than it did. The day has opened its eyelids wider.


The lengthening of the days, commenced a good while ago, is a kind of forerunner of the spring. Of course it is then that the ameliorating cause begins to work.

Photo: February 19, 2013

February 18, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

As I remember January we had one? great thaw succeeded by severe cold– It was harder getting about–though there may have been no more snow because it was light–& there was more continuous cold & clear sparkling weather–


But the last part of January & all February thus far has been alternate thaw & freeze & snow. It has more thaws….

February 16, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal

Snows again this morning– For the last month the weather has been remarkably changeable; hardly 3 days together alike.


That is an era—not yet arrived—when the earth being partially thawed, melts the slight snows which fall on it.

February 15, 1855

PC264789.jpgin Thoreau’s Journal:

All day a steady, warm imprisoning rain, carrying off the snow, not unmusical on my roof. It is a rare time for student and reader who cannot go abroad in the P.M., provided he can keep awake, for we are wont to be as drowsy as cats in such weather. Without, it is not walking, but wading.

February 14, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The laws of nature always furnish us with the best excuse for going & coming. If we do not go now—we shall find our fire out.


November 11, 1851 in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is not I but nature in me.

The Work Of Happiness

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall––
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life’s span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

— May Sarton

February 12, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I find that it is an excellent walk for variety & novelty & wildness to keep round the edge of the meadow….A narrow meandering walk rich in unexpected views & objects…The wrecks of the meadow which fill a thousand coves and tell a thousand tales to those who can read them.

P2220009.jpgOur prairial mediterranean shore….If you cannot go on the ice—you are gently compelled to take this course which is on the whole more beautiful—to follow the sinuosities of the meadow.

February 11, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

In the winter we so value the semblance of fruit that even the dry, black female catkins of the alder are an interesting sight, not to mention, on shoots rising a foot or two above these, the red or mulberry male catkins in tight parcels dangling at a less than right angle with the stems, and the short female ones at their bases.


February 10

February 10, 1860 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I do not know of any more exhilarating walking than up or down a broad field of smooth ice like this in a cold, glittering, winter day….


February 10, 1841

I asked a man to-day if he would rent me some land, and he said he had four acres as good soil “as any outdoors.” It was a true poet’s account of it. He and I, and all the world, went outdoors to breathe the free air and stretch ourselves. For the world is but outdoors, – and we duck behind a panel.

February 10, 1860

In the cold, clear, rough air from the northwest we walk amid what simple surroundings! Surrounded by our thoughts or imaginary objects, living in our ideas, not one in a million even sees the objects which are actually around him.