March 31

March 31, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Intended to get up early this morning and commence a series of spring walks, but clouds and drowsiness prevented.

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, bound out. Out of doors there was nothing but the wind and the withered grass, and the cold though sparkling 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 30, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Still cold and blustering…..The spring advances in spite of snow and ice and cold even….How silent are the footsteps of spring!  ….In warm recesses in meadows and clefts, in rocks in the midst of ice and snow, nay, even under the snow, vegetation commences and steadily advances.


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water, especially where there is a temporary island in the flood with its new and tender shores of waving outline, so withdrawn, yet habitable; above all, if it rises into a hill high above the water, so contrasting with it the more, and if that hill is wooded, suggesting wildness.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.

March 27

 in Thoreau’s Journal, 1842


The eye must be firmly anchored to this earth which beholds birches and pines waving in the breeze in a certain light, a serene, rippling light.

in Thoreau’s Journal, 1858

How fitly and exactly any season of the year may be described by indicating the condition of some flower!

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March 23, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I think I may say that the snow has not been less than a foot deep on a level in open land until to-day, since January 6th, about eleven weeks. I am reassured and reminded that I am the heir of eternal inheritances which are inalienable, when I feel the warmth reflected from this sunny bank, and see the yellow sand and reddish sub soil, and hear some dried leaves rustle and the trickling of some melting 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.


March 23, 1852
As I cannot go upon a Northwest Passage, then I will find a passage round the actual world where I am. Connect the Behring Straits and Lancaster Sounds of thought; winter on Melville Island, and make a chart of Banks Land; explore the northward-trending Wellington Inlet, where there is said to be a perpetual open sea, cutting my way through floes of ice.

March 21, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is a genial and reassuring day; the mere warmth of the west wind amounts almost to balminess. The softness of the air mollifies our own dry and congealed substance. I sit down by a wall to see if I can muse again.


We become, as it were, pliant and ductile again to strange but memorable influences; we are led a little way by our genius. We are affected like the earth, and yield to the elemental tenderness. Winter breaks up within us. The frost is coming out of me, and I am heaved like the road. Accumulated masses of ice and snow dissolve, and thoughts like a freshet, pour down unwonted channels.

March 20, 1855

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is remarkable by what a gradation of days which we call pleasant and warm, beginning in the last of February, we come at last to real summer warmth. At first a sunny, calm, serene winter day is pronounced spring, or reminds us of it.


And even the first pleasant spring day, perhaps, we walk with our great-coat buttoned up, and gloves on.

March 19, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

These spring impressions (as of the apparent waking up of the meadow) are not repeated the same year, at least not with the same force, for the next day the same phenomenon does not surprise us, our appetite has lost its edge. The other day the face of the meadow wore a peculiar appearance, as if it were beginning to wake up under the influence of the southwest wind and warm sun, but it cannot again this year present precisely that appearance to me.


 I have taken a step forward to a new position and must see something else. We perceive and are affected by changes too subtle to be described.

March 18, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

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…The wind blows strong but warm from west by north (so that I have to hold my paper tight while I write this), making the copses creak and roar, but the sharp tinkle of a song-sparrow is heard through it all.

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But, ah! the needles of the pine, how they shine…Every third tree is lit with the most subdued but clear, ethereal light, as if it were the most delicate frost-work in a winter morning, reflecting no heat, but only light. And as they rock and wave in the strong wind, even a mile off, the light courses up and down them as over a field of grain…At sight of this my spirit is like a lit tree.

March 14, 1855

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

There seems, however, to be little seed left in them. This, then, is reason enough why these withered stems still stand, that they may raise these granaries above the snow for the use of the snowbirds.


March 12, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Now is the season to look for Indian relics—the sandy fields being just bared— I stand on the high lichen covered & colored (greenish) hill beyond Abner Buttrick’s— I go further east & look across the meadow to Bedford—& see that peculiar scenery of March—in which I have taken so many rambles—The earth just bare & beginning to be dry—the snow lying on the N sides of hills—the gray deciduous trees & the green pines soughing in the March wind—they look now as if deserted by a companion—(the snow) When you walk over bare lichen-clad hills—just beginning to be dry—& look afar over the blue water on the meadows—You are beginning to break up your winter quarters—& plan adventures for the new year— The scenery is like—yet unlike November— You have the wind—a peculiarly soft moist air or else a raw wind


Now is the reign of water….It is astonishing how soon the ice has gone out of the river. But it still lies on the bottom of the meadow.