April 30, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I observe today the bright crimson? perfect flowers of the maple—crimson styles—sepals & petals (crimson or scarlet?)


whose leaves are not yet-very handsome in the sun as you look to the sky-& the hum of small bees from them.

April 29, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The may-flower on the point of blossoming— I think I may say that it will blossom to-morrow. It is singularly unpretending—not seeking to exhibit or display its simple beauty. It is the most delicate flower both to eye & to scent as yet—


Its weather worn leaves do not adorn it. It if had fresh spring leaves it would be more famous & sought after.

April 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

On Conantum Cliffs whose seams dip to the NW at an angle of 50º (?) and run NE and SW I find today for the first time the early saxifrage saxifrage vernalis in blossom—growing high and dry in the narrow seams where there is no soil for it but a little green moss.—


following thus early after the bare rock—it is one of the first flowers not one in the spring of the year but in the spring of the world.—It an take advantage of a perpendicular cliff where the snow cannot lie & fronting the S.

In exactly the same places grows the columbine…


April 21, 2016:  Photos on a local cliff, Sandwich, New Hampshire


April 25, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The first partridge drums in one or two places—As if the earth’s pulse now beat audibly with the increased flow of life. It slightly flutters all Nature & makes her heart palpitate— Also, as I stand listening for the wren, & sweltering in my great-coat—I hear the woods filled with the hum of insects—as if my hearing were affected—& thus the summer quire begins—


The silent spaces have begun to be filled with notes of birds and insects & the peep & croak & snore of frogs—even as living green blades are everywhere pushing up amid the sere ones.

April 24, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The rattlesnake plantain has fresh leaves.
April 23, 2016: Photo


April, 24, 1859 in Thoreau’s Journal

There is a season for everything, and we do not notice a given phenomenon except at that season, if indeed it can be called the same phenomenon at any other season. There is a time to watch the ripples on Ripple Lake, to look for arrowheads, to study the rocks and lichens, a time to walk on sandy deserts, and the observor of nature must improve the seasons as much as the farmer his. So boys fly kites and play ball and hawkie at particular times all over the state. We must not be governed by rigid rules, as by the almanac, but let the seasons rule us. The moods and thoughts of man are revolving just as steadily and incessantly as nature’s. Take time by the forelock. Now or never! You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this one or the life of this. Where the good husbandman is, there is good soil. Take any other course and life will be a succession of regrets. Let us see vessels sailing prosperously before the wind, and not simply stranded barks. There is no world for penitent and regretful.

April 23, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The first April showers are even fuller of promise & a certain moist serenity than the sunny days….The tinge of green is gradually increasing in the face of the russet earth…


Now that the very earliest shrubs are beginning to unfold…

April 21, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

….I perceive the faintest possible flower-like scent as from the earth—reminding me of anemones & houstonias. Can it be the budded mouse-ears under my feet? downy-swaddled—they lie along flat to the earth like a child on its mother’s bosom.


I sit on a rock awhile just below the old trough. These are those early times when the rich golden brown tassels of the alder tremble over the brooks—& not a leaf on their twigs.

April 18, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

For the first time I perceive this spring that the year is a circle— I see distinctly the spring arc thus far. It is drawn with a firm line…

Why should just these sights & sounds accompany our life? Why should I hear the chattering of blackbirds—why smell the skunk each year? I would fain explore the mysterious relation between myself & these things. I would at least know what these things unavoidably are- —make a chart of our life & when—know why just this circle of creatures completes the world. Can I not by expectation affect the revolutions of nature—make a day to bring forth something new?


As Cawley loved a garden, so I a forest.

Observe all kinds of coincidences—as what kinds of birds come with what flowers.

An East Wind, I hear the clock strike plainly 10 or 11 PM.


Thought for April 18, 2016:  The 2,000,000 words of his Journal are like a very long hike during which the reader must ask questions (as in the above) in order to keep awake to her/his surroundings. Then, just as we can excerpt from the Journal every day, we can remember those aspects of our hike and assemble them for particular and new purposes.

April 16, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I think our overflowing river—far handsomer & more abounding in soft and beautiful contrasts—than a merely broad river would be- A succession of bays it is-a chain of lakes-an endlessly scalloped shore — — rounding wood & field-cultivated field & wood & pasture and house are brought into ever new & expected positions & relations to the water.


There is just stream enough for a flow of thought—that is all.

April 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A driving snow storm in the night & still raging…All birds have turned into snow birds. Trees and houses have put on the aspect of winter. The travelers carriage wheels, the farmer’s wagon are converted into white disks of snow through which the spokes hardly appear.


April 13, 2013: Photo

But it is good now to stay in the house & read & write. We do not now go wandering all abroad & dissipated—but the imprisioning storm condenses our thoughts— I can hear the clock tick as not in pleasant weather— My life is enriched— I love to hear the wind howl. I have a fancy for sitting with my book or paper—in some mean & apparently unfavorable place—in the kitchen for instance where the work is going on—rather a little cold than comfortable— — My thoughts are of more worth in such places than they would be in a well-furnished & warmed studio.