February 8, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

My Journal is that of me which would else spill over and run to waste.— gleanings from the field which in action I reap. I must not live for it, but in it for the gods— They are my correspondent to whom daily I send off this sheet post-paid. I am clerk in their counting room and at evening transfer the account from day-book to ledger.

It is as a leaf which hangs over my head in the path — I bend the twig and write my prayers on it then letting it go the bough springs up and shows the scrawl to heaven. As if it were not kept shut in my desk—but were as public a leaf as any in nature—it is papyrus by the river side—it is vellum in the pastures—it is parchment on the hills— I find it every where as free as the leaves which troop along the lanes in autumn—


The crow—the goose—the eagle—carry my quill—and the wind blows the leaves—as far as I go— Or if my imagination does not soar, but gropes in slime and mud—then I write with a reed.

It is always a chance scrawl, and commemorates some accident—as great as earthquake or eclipse. Like the sere leaves in yonder vase these have been gathered far and wide—upland and lowland.— forest and field have been ransacked.

January 6

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A cold drifting wind sweeps from the north—the surface of the snow is imbricated on a great scale being very regularly blown into waves—alike over the high- and the rail-road concealing the tracks & meadows & the river & the pond—


It is all one great wintry looking snow-field—whose surface consists of great wavelike drifts….

February 5, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A Thick fog. The trees & woods look well through it….


I remember now that the mist was much thicker over the pond than elsewhere— I could not distinguish a man there more than ten rods off—and the woods seen dimly across a bay were mistaken for the opposite side of the Pond— I could almost fancy a bay of an acre in extent the whole pond. Elsewhere methinks I could see twice as far— I felt the greater coolness of the air over the pond….

February 3, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


Access to nature for original observation is secured by one ticket—by one kind of expense—but access to the works of your predecessors by a very different kind of expense— All things tend to cherish the originality of the original. Nature at least takes no pains to introduce you to the works of his predecessors—but only presents him with her own Opera Omnia.

February 2, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is remarkable that the straw-colored sedge of the meadows, which in the fall is one of the least noticeable colors, should now, that the landscape is mostly covered with snow, be perhaps the most noticeable of all objects in it for its color, and an agreeable contrast to the snow…


Winter 1845-1846

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

And again in winter to cross this pond on the ice—is our Davis’ straits or Baffin’s Bay—as a pleasant adventure.— to see the Lincoln hills rise up around it as a center—Mt. Tabor—& Bare Hill & the rest— It is a somewhat novel scenery, and not often seen in summer….


This is our Lake country.