March 31, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is suddenly warm, and this amelioration of the weather is incomparably the most important fact in this vicinity. It is incredible what a revolution in our feelings and in the aspect of nature this warmer air alone has produced. Yesterday the earth was simple to barrenness, and dead, bound out. Out of doors there was nothing but the wind and the withered grass, and the cold though sparkling blue water, and you were driven in upon yourself.


Now, you would think there was a sudden awakening in the very crust of the earth, as if flowers were expanding and leaves putting forth; but not so. I listen in vain to hear a frog or a new bird as yet. Only the frozen ground is melting a little deeper, and the water is trickling from the hills in some places. No, the change is mainly in us. We feel as if we had obtained a new lease of life.

March 29, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:


I stand on Heywood’s Peak, looking over Walden, more than half its surface already sparkling blue water, I inhale with pleasure the cold but wholesome air, like a draught of cold water, contrasting it in my memory with the wind of summer, which I do not thus eagerly swallow. This, which is a chilling wind to my fellow, is decidedly refreshing to me. I swallow it with eagerness as a panacea. I feel an impulse also already to jump into the half-melted pond. This cold wind is refreshing to my palate as the warm air of sunshine is not, methinks.

March 28, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How charming the contrast of land and water, especially where there is a temporary island in the flood with its new and tender shores of waving outline, so withdrawn, yet habitable; above all if it rises into a hill high above the water, so contrasting with it the more, and, if that hill is wooded, suggesting wildness. Our vernal lakes have a beauty to my mind which they would not possess if they were more permanent. Everything is in rapid flux here, suggesting that nature is alive to her extremities and superficies.


To-day we sail swiftly on dark rolling waves, or paddle over a sea as smooth as a mirror, unable to touch the bottom where mowers work and hide their jugs in August, coasting the edge of maple swamps where alder tassels and white-maple flowers are kissing the tide that has risen to meet them. But this particular phase of beauty is fleeting. Nature has so many shows for us she cannot afford to give much time to this In a few days, perchance, these lakes will all have run away to the sea….in nature it is constant surprise and novelty….

March 26, 1860

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

….March fluctuates about a month, receding into February or advancing into April.

11_12.jpg               March 26, 2011                                                       March 26, 2012

March 24, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How little that occurs to us are we prepared at once to appreciate. We discriminate at first only a few features, and we need to reconsider our experience from many points of view and in various moods to preserve the whole force of it.


Photo: March 24, 2015

March 23, 2016

from “Landscape and Narrative” by Barry Lopez

I think of two landscapes—one outside the self, the other within. The external landscape is the one we see—not only the line and color of the land and its shading at different times of the day, but also its plants and animals in season, its weather, its geology, the record of its climate and evolution…..One learns a landscape finally not by knowing the name or identity of everything in it, but by perceiving the relationships in it—like that between the sparrow and the twig….


The second landscape I think of as an interior one, a kind of projection within a person of a part of the exterior landscape….the speculations, intuitions, and formal ideas we refer to as “mind” are a set of relationships in the interior landscape with purpose and order…..The interior landscape responds to the character and subtlety of an exterior landscape; the shape of the individual is affected by land as it is by genes. Barry Lopez from his essay:

March 23, 1853 & 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:


5 A.M I hear the robin sing before I rise.



I am reassured and reminded that I am the heir of eternal inheritances which are inalienable, when I feel the warmth reflected from the sunny bank, and see the yellow sand and the reddish soil, and hear some dried leaves rustle and the trickling of melted snow in some sluiceway. The eternity which I detect in Nature I predicate of myself also. How many springs I have had this same experience! I am encouraged for I recognize this steady persistency and recovery of Nature as a quality of myself.



The frost in swamps and meadows makes it good waking there still.



March 22, 1853

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The tapping of the wood pecker-rat-tat-tat-knocking at the door of some sluggish grub to tell him that the spring has arrived-&his fate.


This is one of the season sounds-calling the roll of birds & insects-the reveillee-

March 21, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Observed yesterday where a mass of ice in Walden of about an acre had cracked off from the main body and blown 30 or 40 rods crumbling up its edge against the Eastern shore.


Might not my Journal be called “Field Notes.”

March 20, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:
I notice the downy-swaddled plants now & in the fall, the fragrant life everlasting and the rib-wort-innocents born in a cloud.


Those algae I saw the other day in John Hosmers ditch were the most like seaweed than anything else I have seen in the country—- they made me look at the whole earth as a seashore. reminded me of Nereids-sea nymphs, triton-Proteus &c &c-made the ditches fabulate in an older than the arrowheaded character. Better learn this strange character which nature uses to day -than the Sanskrit-books in the brooks-

March 19, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

By the river I see distinctly red-wings and hear their congueree. They are not associated with grackles. They are an age before their cousins, have attained to clearness and liquidity; they are officers, epauleted. The others are rank and file. I distinguish one even by its flight, hovering slowly from tree-top to tree-top, as if ready to utter its liquid notes. Their whistle is very clear and sharp, while that of the grackle is ragged and split.


It is a fine evening, as I stand on the bridge. The waters are quite smooth, very little ice to be seen. The red-wing and song-sparrow are singing, and a flock of tree-sparrows is pleasantly warbling. A new era has come. The red-wing’s gurgle-ee is heard where smooth waters begin. One or two boys are out trying their skiffs, even like the fuzzy gnats in the sun, and as often as one turns his boat round on the smooth surface, the setting sun is reflected from its side.

March 18, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence. How happens it that the associations it awakens are always pleasing, never saddening, reminiscences of our sanest hours. The voice of nature is always encouraging.


When I get two thirds up the hill, I look round, and am for the hundredth time surprised by the landscape of the river valley and the horizon with its distant blue-scalloped rim. It is a spring landscape, and as impossible a fort-night ago as the song of birds.

March 16, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A new phase of the spring is presented, a new season has come. We no longer see dripping, saturated russet and brown banks through rain, hearing at intervals the alarm notes of early robins, banks which reflect a yellowish light, but we see the bare and now pale-brown and dry russet hills. The earth has cast off her white coat and come forth in her clean-washed, sober russet, early spring dress. As we look over the lively tossing blue waves for a mile or more eastward and westward our eyes fall on these shining russet hills….


The fawn-colored oak leaves, with a few pines intermixed, thickly covering the hill, look not like a withered vegetation, but an ethereal kind just expanded and peculiarly adapted to the season and the sky.

March 13, 1859

In Thoreau’s Journal:

The barren surfaces are perhaps the most interesting in such weather as yesterday, where the most terrene colors are seen.


The wet earth and sand, and especially subsoil, are very invigorating sights.