December 31, 1853

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


It is a remarkable sight, this snow-clad landscape, the fences and bushes half-buried, and the warm sun on it…the town and country is now so still, no rattle of wagons nor even jingle of sleigh bells, every tread being as with woolen feet.

December 30, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When the snow is falling thick and fast, the flakes nearest you seem to be driving straight to the ground, while the more distant seem to float in the air in a quivering bank, like feathers, or like birds at play, and not as if sent on any errand.


So, at a little distance, all the works of nature proceed with sport and frolic. They are more in the eye, and less in the deed.

December 29, 1856

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


We must go out and re-ally ourselves to Nature every day.  We must make root, send out some little fibre at least, even every winter day….

Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity always.

December 28

1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:  

One moment of life costs many hours.–– hours not of business but of preparation & invitation. Yet the man who does not betake himself at once & desperately to sawing–is called a loafer– though he may be knocking at the doors of heaven–all the while which shall surely be opened to him–– That aim in life is highest which requires the highest & finest discipline.


How much––What infinite leisure it requires–as of a lifetime, to appreciate a single phenomenon! You must camp down beside it as if for life–having reached your land of promise & give yourself wholly to it. It must stand for the whole world for you––symbolical of all things.

1840 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The snow hangs on the trees as the fruit of the season.

December 27, 1857

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

What interesting contrasts our climate affords. In July you rush panting into the pond to cool yourself in the tepid water, when the stones on the bank are so heated that you cannot hold one tightly in your hand…


— Now you walk on the same pond frozen, amid the snow, with numbered fingers and feet, and see the water target bleached and stiff in the ice.

December 26, 1853

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

This forenoon it snowed pretty hard for some hours, the first snow of any consequence thus far. It is about three inches deep. I go out at 2:30 P.M. just as it ceases. Now is the time before the wind rises, or the sun has shone to go forth and see the snow on the trees. The clouds have lifted somewhat, but are still spitting snow a little. The vapor of the steam engine does not rise high in the misty air…


December 25, 1856

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


Take long walks in stormy weather, or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.

December 24, 1841

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I want to go soon and live away by the pond where I shall hear only the wind whispering among the reeds. It will be success if I shall have left myself behind. But my friends ask what I will do when I get there!


Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons?

December 23, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is pleasant walking in the woods now when the sun is just coming out & shining on the woods freshly covered with snow— At a distance the oak woods look very venerable—a fine hale wintry aspect things wear—and the pines also snowed up even suggest comfort.


Where the boughs cross each other much snow is caught—which now in all woods is gradually tumbling down—

December 20, 1840

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

My home is as much of nature as my heart embraces. If I only warm my house, then is that only my home. But if I sympathize with the heats and colds, the sounds and silence of nature, and share the respose and equanimity that reign around me in the fields,


then are they my house, as much as if the kettle sang and fagots crackled, and the clock ticked on the wall.

December 18, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Apples are thawed now, and are very good. Their juice is the best kind of bottled cider that I know.


They are all good in this state, and your jaws are the cider press.

December 17, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The winter morning is the time to see in perfection the woods and shrubs wearing their snowy and frosty dress….The trees wear their morning burden but coarsely after midday and it no longer expresses the character of the tree…..


You wander zigzag through the aisles of the wood, where stillness and twilight reign.

December 16, 1837

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How indispensable to a correct study of Nature is a perception of her true meaning. The fact will one day flower out into a truth. The season will mature and fructify what the understanding had cultivated.


December 15, 1856

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I still recall that characteristic winter evening of December 9th: The cold, dry, and wholesome diet my mind and senses necessarily fed on,



—oak leaves, bleached and withered weeds that rose above the snow, the now dark green of pines, and perchance the faint metallic chip of a single tree sparrow; the hushed stillness of the wood at sundown, aye, all the winter day, the short boreal twilight, the smooth serenity and the reflections of the pond, still free from ice; the melodious hooting of the owl….

December 13, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

….the melon-rind arrangement of the clouds, really parallel columns of fine mackerel sky reaching quite across the heavens from west to east, with clear intervals of blue sky; and a fine-grained vapor like spun glass extending in the same direction beneath the former….But how long can a man be in a mood to watch the heavens?


….What a spectacle the subtle vapors that have their habitation in the sky present these winter days! You have not only unvarying forms of a given type of cloud, but various types at different heights or hours. It is a scene, for variety, for beauty and grandeur, out of all proportion to the attention it gets. Who watched the forms of the clouds over this part of the earth a thousand years ago? who watches them to-day?

December 12, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


If in the winter there are fewer men in the fields and woods, — as in the country generally, — you see the tracks of those who had preceded you, and so are more reminded of them than in summer.