November 17, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I notice that many plants about this season of the year or earlier, after they have died down at top, put forth fresh and conspicuous radical leaves against another spring; so some human beings in the November of their days, exhibit some fresh radical greenness, which, through the frosts may soon nip it, indicates and confirms their essential greenness. When their summer leaves have faded and fallen, they put forth fresh radical leaves which sustain the life in their root still, against a new spring. The dry fields have, for a long time, been spotted with the small radical leaves of the fragrant life-everlasting, not to mention the large primrose, John’s-wort, etc.


Almost every plant, although it may show no greenness above the ground, if you dig about it, will be found to have fresh shoots already pointing upward, and ready to burst forth in the spring.