October 11, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The note of the chickadee heard now in cooler weather above many fallen leaves, has a new significance.

There was a very severe frost this morning;


ground stiffened, probably a chestnut-opening frost, a season ripeness, opener of the burrs that contain the Indian Summer. Such is the cold of early or mid- October. The leaves and weeds had a stiff, hoary appearance.

October 10, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:


How agreeable to the eye at this season the color of new fallen leaves….sere & crisp. When freshly fallen with their forms & their veins still distinct they have a certain life in them still….You make a great noise now walking in the woods on account of the dry leaves—especially chestnut & oak—& maples that cover the ground.

October 9, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The witch hazel here is in full blossom—on this magical hill-side-while its broad yellow leaves are falling—some bushes are completely bare of leaves, and leather-colored they strew the ground. It is an extremely interesting plant—October & November’s child—and yet reminds me of the very earliest spring- Its blossoms smell like the spring—like the willow catkins—by their color as well as fragrance they belong to the saffron dawn of the year.


— Suggesting amid all these signs of Autumn—falling leaves & frost—that the life of nature—by which she eternally flourishes, is untouched. It stands here in the shadow on the side of the hill while the sun-light from over the top of the hill lights up its topmost sprays & yellow blossoms. Its spray so jointed and angular is not to be mistaken for any other. I lie on my back with joy under its boughs. While its leaves fall—its blossoms spring. The autumn then is in deed a spring. All the year is a spring. I see two blackbirds high over head going south, but I am going north in my thought with these hazel blossoms


It is a faery-place. This is a part of the immortality of the soul. When I was thinking that it bloomed too late for bees or other insects to extract honey from its flowers—that perchance they contained no honey—I saw a bee upon it. How important then to the bees this late blossoming plant.


October 8, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This evening I am obliged to sit with my door & window open—in a thin coat—which I have not done for 3 weeks at least.

A warm night like this at this season produces its effect on the village— The boys are heard at play in the street now at 9 ‘o’clock—in greater force & with more noise than usual. My neighbor has got out his flute— There is more fog than usual—the moon is full.


The tops of the woods in the horizon seen above the fog look exactly like long low black clouds—the fog being the color of the sky.

October 7, 1851

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

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There is a great difference between this season and a month ago—as between one period of your life & another. A little frost is at the bottom of it.

October 6, 1851

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The river appears indefinitely wide—there is a mist rising from the water which increases the indefiniteness…


Where the shore is very low the actual & reflected trees appear to stand foot to foot—& it is but a line that separates them & the water & the sky almost flow into one another—& the shore seems to float.

October 5, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:


There is not now that profusion, and consequent confusion, of events which belongs to a summer walk. There are few flowers, birds, insects, or fruits now, and hence what does occur affects us as more is simple and significant, as the cawing of a crow or the scream of a jay. The latter seems to scream more fitly and with more freedom through the vacancies occasioned by fallen maple leaves.

October 4, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


In the summer greenness is cheap, now it is a thing comparatively rare, and is the emblem of life to us.

It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.

October 3, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


Seen from Heywood’s Peak at Walden, the shore is now more beautifully painted. The most prominent trees are the red maples and the yellowish aspens. The pine fall or change has commenced, and the trees are mottled green and yellowish.


October 2, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:


Generally speaking, it is only the lower edge of the woods that now shows the bright autumnal tints, while the superstructure is green, the birches, very young oaks and hickories, huckleberry bushes, blueberries, etc, that stand around the edges, though here and there some taller maple flames upward amid the masses of green, or some other riper and mellower tree.

October 1, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

These days when the trees have put on their autumnal tints are the gala days of the year—when the very foliage of the trees is colored like a blossom—


It is a proper time for a yearly festival—an agricultural show.