January 11, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I was describing, the other day, my success in solitary and distant woodland walking outside the town.


I do not go there to get my dinner, but to get the sustenance which dinners only preserve me to enjoy, without which dinners are a vain repetition. But how little men can help me in this, only by having a kindred experience.

January 10, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Such is the piercing wind, no man loiters between his house and barn.


The road track is soon obliterated, and the path which leads round to the back of the house, dug this morning, is filled again….

January 8, 1860

 in Thoreau’s Journal:
To-day it is very warm and pleasant…. After December all weather that is not wintry is spring-like. How changed are our feelings and thoughts by this more genial sky!


January 7, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I wish to forget a considerable part of every day, all mean, narrow, trivial men….and therefore i come out to these solitudes where the problem of existence is simplified. I get a mile or two from the town, into the stillness and solitude of nature, with rocks, trees, weeds, snow about me.


I enter some glade in the woods, perchance, where a few weeds and dry leaves alone lift themselves above the surface of the snow, and it is as if I had come to an open window. I see out and around myself. Our sky-lights are thus far away from the ordinary resorts of men. I am not satisfied with ordinary windows. I must have a true sky-light….


January 6, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:


We are rained and snowed on with gems…What a world we live in! Where are the jewelers’ shops? There is nothing handsomer than a snow-flake and a dew-drop.


January 6, 1859:

I felt my spirits rise when I had got out of the road into the open fields, and the sky had a new appearance. I stepped along more buoyantly. There was a warm sunset in the wooded valleys, a yellowish tinge on the pines. Reddish dun-colored clouds, like dusky flames, stood over it, and then streaks of blue sky were seen here and there. The life, the joy that is in blue sky after a storm. There is no account of the blue sky in history. Before, I walked in the ruts of travel, now I adventured….


January 6, 1838
As a child looks forward to the coming of the summer, so could we contemplate with quiet joy the circle of the seasons returning without fail eternally.


January 5, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:


What a world we live in, where myriads of these little disks, so beautiful to the most prying eye, are whirled down on every traveler’s coat, the observant and the unobservant, on the restless squirrel’s fur, on the far-stretching fields and forests, the wooded dells and the mountaintops.

January 4, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

That bright and warm reflection of sunlight from the insignificant edging of stubble was remarkable. I was coming down stream over the meadow on the ice, within four or five rods of the eastern shore, the sun on my left about a quarter of an hour above the horizon. The ice was soft and sodden, of a dull lead color, quite dark and reflecting no light, as I looked eastward, but my eyes caught, by accident, a singular, sunny brightness, reflected from the narrow border of stubble only three or four inches high, and as many feet wide perhaps, which rose along the edge of the ice at the foot of the hill. It was not a mere brightening of the bleached stubble, but the warm and yellow light of the sun, which, as it appeared, it was peculiarly fitted to reflect. It was that amber light from the west which we sometimes witness after a storm, concentrated on the stubble, for the hill beyond was merely a dark russet, spotted with snow. All the yellow rays seemed to be reflected by this insignificant stubble alone, and when I looked for generally at little above it, seeing it with the upper part of my eye,…the reflected light made its due impression….separated from the proper color of the stubble, and it glowed almost like a low, steady, and serene fire. It was precisely as if the sunlight had mechanically slid over the ice, and lodged against the stubble. It will be enough to say of something warmly and sunnily bright, that it glowed like lit stubble. It was remarkable that looking eastward this was the only evidence of the light in the west.


January 3, 1854

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is now fairly winter–we have passed the line–have put the autumn behind us–have forgotten what these withered herbs that rise above the snow here & there are–what flowers they every bore–


They are fishing on Walden this P.M.

January 2, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Going up the hill through Stow’s young oak wood-land, I listen to the sharp, dry rustle of the withered oak leaves. This is the voice of the wood now. It would be comparatively still and more dreary here in other respects, if it were not for these leaves that hold on. It sounds like the roar of the sea, and is inspiriting like that, suggesting how all the land is sea-coast to the aerial ocean. It is the sound of the surf, the rut, of an unseen ocean, ––billows of air breaking on the forest like water on itself or on sand and rocks. It rises and falls, swells and dies away, with agreeable alternation, as the sea surf does. Perhaps the landsmen can foretell a storm by it.


It is remarkable how universal these grand murmurs are, these backgrounds of sound, ––the surf, the wind in the forest, waterfalls, etc., ––which yet to the ear and in their origin are essentially one voice, the earth voice…

January 1, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:


This morning we have something between ice and frost on the trees, etc….What a crash of jewels as you walk!… I saw a prinos bush full of large berries by the wall in Hubbard’s field.  Standing on the west side, the contrast of the red berries with their white incrustation or prolongation on the north was admirable.  I thought I had never seen the berries so dazzlingly bright