July 11, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Now is the time for meadow walking (I am in the meadow north of Hubbards Bridge.) You go dry shod now through meadows which were comparatively impassable before. Those western reserves which you had not explored. We are thankful that the water has preserved them inviolate so long. There is a cheerful light reflected from undersides of the ferns in the dryer meadows now––and has been for some time––especially in breezy weather. It was so in June. The dusty roads & roadsides begin to show the effects of drought–– The corn rolls. The bass on Conantum is now well in blossom. It probably commenced about the 9th. Its flowers are conspicuous for a tree & a rather agreeable odor fills the air. The tree resounds with the hum of bees on the flowers. On the whole it is a rich sight. Is it not later than the Chestnut? The elder is a very conspicuous & prevalent flower now––with its large flat cymes. Pogonias & Calopogons are very abundant in the meadows.


July 10, 2017 (Pogonia)

July 10, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The rye-fields are now quite yellow and ready for the sickle. Already there are many flavous colors in the landscape––much maturity of small seeds. The nodding heads of the rye make an agreeable maze to the eye….The robin methinks is oftener heard of late–even at noon.

July 9, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

An aurora fading into a general saffron color. At length the redness travels over partly from east to west, before sunrise, and there is little color in the east. The birds all unite to make the morning hour, sing rather faintly, not prolonging their strains. The crickets appear to have received a reinforcement during the sultry night.

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There is no name for the evening red corresponding to aurora. It is the blushing foam about the prow of the sun’s boat, and at eve, the same in its wake. ––I do not often hear the bluebird now except at dawn. ––I think we have had no clear winter skies, no skies the color of a robin’s egg and pure amber….for some months. ––

“The flower opens, and lo! another year.” [ancient Chinese saying]


There is something sublime in the fact that some of the oldest written sentences should thus celebrate the coming in of spring. How many times have the flowers opened and a new year begun! Hardly a more cheering sentence could have come down to us. How old is spring, a phenomenon still so fresh! Do we perceive any decay in Nature? How much evidence is contained in this short and simple sentence respecting the former inhabitants of this globe! It is a sentence to be inscribed on vessels of porcelain, suggesting that so many years had gone before, in observation as fit then as now.

July 7, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

4 AM.  The first really foggy morning yet before I rise I hear the song of the birds from out it––like the bursting of its bubbles with music–the head on liquids just uncorked. The song gilds thus the frost work of the morning–  As if the fog were a great sweet froth on the surface of land and water–whose fixed air escaped–whose bubbles burst with music.  The sound of its evaporation–the fixed air of the morning just brought from the cellars of the night escaping.–  The morning twittering of birds in perfect harmony with it. I came near awaking this morning. I am older than last year     the mornings are further between–  The days are fewer­–  Any excess is fatal to the morning’s clarity­­–– but in health the sound of a cow bell is celestial music. O might I always wake to thought & poetry––regenerated.


July 7, 1851 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Be ever so little distracted, your thoughts so little confused, your engagements so few, your attention so free, your existence so mundane, that in all places and in all hours, you can hear the sound of crickets in those seasons when they are to be heard.

July 6

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The red lily ilium Philadelphicum– This has very open petals of a dark vermilion color–freckled within & grows in rather dry places–by wood paths &c & is very interesting & handsome–

July 5, 1852


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The progress of the season is indescribable–– It is growing warm again—but the warmth is different from that we have had— We lie in the shade of locust trees–haymakers go by in a hay-rigging–


I am reminded of berrying– I scent the sweet fern & the dead or dry pine leaves––cherry-birds alight on a neighboring tree. The warmth is something more normal–& steady-ripening fruits. Campanula Aparinoides slender bell-flower

July 4, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

To Conantum. –to see the lilies open– I hear an occasional crowing of cocks in distant barns as has been their habit for how many thousand years. It was so when I was young; and it will be so when I am old- I hear the croak of a tree toad as I am crossing the yard– I am surprised to find the dawn so far advanced. There is a yellowish segment of light in the east paling a star–& adding sensibility to the light of the waning & now declining moon. There is very little dew on the uplands. I hear a little twittering & some clear singing from the seringo & the song sparrow– as I go along the Back Road–and now and then the note of the bull frog from the river– The light in the east has acquired a reddish tinge near the horizon Small wisps of cloud are already fuscous & dark seen against the light as in the W at evening. It being Sunday morning I hear no early stirring farmer driving over a bridge– The crickets are not remarkably loud at this season– The sound of a whippoorwill is wafted from the woods– Now on the Corner Road the hedges are alive with twittering sparrows–a blue bird or two &c. The day light now balances the moonlight. How short the nights. The last traces of day have not disappeared much before 10 o’clock or perchance 9 1/2 and before 3 Am you see them again in the East. (probably 2 1/2) leaving about 5 hours of solid night– The sun so soon coming around again. The robins sing–but not so loud & long as in the spring– I have not been awakened by them latterly in the mornings– Is it my fault–ah! those mornings when you are awakened in the dawn by the singing of the Matins of the birds. I hear the dumping sound of frogs now on the causeway. Some small clouds in the east are reddish fuscous. There is no fog on the river nor in the meadows. The king-bird twitters? on the Black willows. Methinks I saw the not yet extinguished lights of one or two fireflies in the darker ruts in the grass in Conant’s meadow. The moon yields to the sun–she pales even in the presence of his dawn. It is chiefly the spring birds that I hear at this hour—& in dawn the spring is thus revived–– The notes of the sparrows & the blue-birds & the robin have a prominence now which they have not by day The light is more & more general & some low bands begin to look bluish as well as reddish. (Elsewhere the sky wholly clear of clouds) The dawn is at this stage far lighter than the brightest moonlight–– I write by it––yet the sun will not rise for some time. Those bars are reddening more above one spot. They grow purplish or lilac rather. White & whiter grows the light in the eastern sky–– (And now descending to the cliff by the river side I cannot see the low horizon & its phenomena) I love to go through these old apple orchards so irregularly set out. Sometimes two trees standing alone together– The rows of grafted fruit will never tempt me to wander amid them like these. A bittern leaves the shore at my approach–– I suppose it is he whose excrement has whitened the rocks–as if a mason had spilled his whitewash–– A night hawk squeaks & booms– before sunrise. The insects shaped like shad flies (some which I see are larger & yellowish) begin to leave their cases (and selves?) on the stems of the grasses & the rushes in the water. I find them so weak they can hardly hold on. I hear the blackbirds carqueree & the king-fisher darts away with his alarum– and outstretched neck. Every lily is shut Sunrise––I see it gilden the top of the hill behind me but the sun itself is concealed by the hills & woods on the E shore…


July 4, 2017 Photo

July 3, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A cone flower–(new plant) Rudbeckia hirta (except that I call its disk not dull brown but dull or dark purple or maroon) in Arethusa meadow)— However Wood calls it dark purple saw one (plucked June 25) —blossomed prob about that time–– Many yesterday in meadows beyond alms house. Prob. introduced lately from west.


July 2, 1858

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Suddenly I see a broad reach of blue beneath, with its curves and headlands, liberating me from the more terrene earth. What a difference it makes whether I spend my four hours nooning between the hills by yonder roadside, or on the brink of this fair river, within a quarter of a mile of that! Here the earth is fluid to my thought, the sky is reflected from beneath, and around yonder cape is the highway to other continents. This current allies me with the world.


Photo:  July 2, 2017

July 2, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

An abundance of red lilies in an upland dry meadow….low from one to two feet high–up-right flowered––more or less dark shade of red-freckled & sometimes wrinkle edged––must have been some days.


This has come with the intense summer heats– a torrid July heat like a red sunset threatening torrid heat. (Do we not always have a dry time just before the huckleberries turn?-) I think this meadow was burnt over about a year ago. Did that make the red lily grow? The spring now seems far behind–I do not remember the interval.