September 30, 1851

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The different characters of the trees appear at this season when their leaves so to speak are ripe than at any other—than in the winter for instance when they are little remarkable—& almost uniformly grey or brown or in the spring & summer when they are undistinguishably green. Now a red maple—an ash—a white birch—a populous grandidentata &c is distinguished almost as far as they are visible.


It is with leaves as with fruits & woods—& animals & men —when they are mature their different characters appear.

September 29, 1851

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The intense brilliancy of the red-ripe maples scattered here and there in the midst of the green oaks and hickories on the hilly shore of Walden is quite charming. They are unexpectedly and incredibly brilliant, especially on the western shore and close to the water’s edge, where, alternating with yellow birches and poplars and green oaks, they remind me of a line of soldiers, redcoats and riflemen in green mixed together.


September 28, 1858

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

P.M. To Great Fields via Gentian Lane. The gentian now generally in prime, on low, moist shady banks.


Its transcendent blue shows best in the shade and suggests coolness; contrasts there with the fresh green; a splendid blue, light in the shade, turning to purple with age. They are particularly abundant under the north side of the willow row in Merrick’s pasture. I count fifteen in a single cluster there, and afterward twenty in Gentian Lane near Flint’s Bridge, and there were other clusters below; bluer than the bluest sky, they lurk in the moist shady recesses of the banks.


September 26, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is a warm and very pleasant afternoon. I walk along the river-side in Merrick’s pasture. Some single red maples are very splendid now; the whole tree bright scarlet against the cold green pines, while very few trees are changed, it is a most remarkable object in the landscape, seen a mile off.  It is too fair to be believed, especially seen against the light. Some are a reddish or else greenish yellow, others with red or yellow cheeks. I suspect that the yellow maples had not scarlet blossoms.



September 25, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I watched the seeds of the milk-weed rising higher & higher till lost in the sky…. I brought home 2 of the pods which were already bursting open and amused myself from day to day with releasing the seeds & watching rise slowly into the heavens till they were lost to my eye.


No doubt the greater or less rapidity with which they rose would serve as a natural barometer to test the condition of the air.


September 24th

In Thoreau’s Journal:

September 24, 1851:

The huckleberry bushes on Conantum are all turned red.

September 24, 1858:

A man must attend to nature closely for many years to know when, as well as where, to look for his objects, since he must always anticipate her a little….I would know when in the year to expect certain thoughts and moods….



September 22, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I am astonished to see how brown & sere the Groundsel or “fire-weed” on hill side by Heywood’s meadow—which has been touched by frost-already is—as if it had died long months ago or a fire had run through it. It is a very tender plant. Standing on Bear Hill in Lincoln— The black birches (I think they are) now yellow on the south side of Flints Pond on the hill side, look like flames.


The chestnut trees are brownish yellow—as well as green. It is a beautifully clear and bracing air with just enough coolness full of the memory of frosty mornings—through which all things are distinctly seen & fields look as smooth as velvet—


The fragrance of grapes is on the breeze & the red drooping barberries sparkle amid the leaves. From the Hill on the S side of the Pond—the forests have a singularly rounded & bowery look clothing the hills quite down to the water’s edge & leaving no shore; the Ponds are like drops of dew amid and partly covering the leaves. So the great globe is luxuriously crowded without margin.


September 21, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


….the mullein still in bloom….


I see many tall clustered bluish asters by the brooks…


The maples begin to be ripe. How beautiful when a whole maple on the edge of a swamp is like one great scarlet fruit—full of ripe juices— A sign of the ripening—every leaf from lowest limb to topmost spire—is a-glow….


The flattened black berries of the cucumber root—with the triangular bases of its leaves tinged red beneath as a sort of cup for them.

September 20, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

On Heywood’s Peak by Walden. The surface is not perfectly smooth on account of the zephyr—& the reflections of the woods are a little indistinct and blurred. How soothing to sit on a stump on this height overlooking the pond and study the dimpling circles which are incessantly inscribed and again erased on the smooth and otherwise invisible surface, amid the reflected skies. The reflected sky is of a deeper blue How beautiful that over this vast expanse there can be no disturbance, but it is thus at once gently smoothed away & assuaged. as when a vase of water is jarred the trembling circles seek the shore & all is smooth again.


Not a fish can leap or an insect fall on it but it is reported in lines of beauty—in circling dimples—as it were the constant welling up of its fountain—the gentle pulsing of its life—the heaving of its breast. The thrills of joy & those of pain are indistinguishable. How sweet the phenomena of the lake—! Everything that moves on its surface produces a sparkle. The peaceful Pond!

September 19, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The soapwort gentian cheers & surprises with solid bulbs of blue from the shade—the stale grown purplish. It abounds along the river—after so much has been mown.


September 17, 2017 Photos

September 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Asters various shades of blue and especially the smaller kinds of dense flowering white ones are more than ever—by the roadsides….The golden glow of autumn concentrated—more golden than the sun….The earth wears different colors or liveries at different seasons. If I come by at this season a golden blaze will salute me here from a thousand suns. How earnestly & rapidly each creature—each flower is fulfilling its part while its day lasts! Nature never lost a day—nor a moment — As the planet in its orbit & around its axis—so do the seasons— —so does time revolve with a rapidity inconceivable.


September 12, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

[A potpourri of citations from this date]

This is the season of fogs.

It is worth the while to see the Mts in the horizon once a day.

A man should feed his senses with the best that the land affords.

I can hardly believe that there is so great a difference between one year & another as my journal shows.

Methinks that I possess the sense of smell in greater perfection than usual—& have the habit of smelling of every plant I pluck. How autumnal is the scent of ripe grapes now by the roadside!

The Prinos berries are pretty red.

Any redness like cardinal flowers or poke—or the evening sky or Cheronaea excites us as a red flag does cows & turkies.


September 11, 1853

 in Thoreau’s Journal:
Perhaps this is the time for asters—
The conspicuous & handsome bluish masses of A puniceus erect or fallen stretch in endless rows along the brook — often as high as your head— Sometimes make islands in the meadows.