February 8, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:



I would rather hear a single shrub oak leaf at the end of a wintry glad rustle of its own accord at my approach than receive a ship-load of stars and garters from strange kings and peoples of the earth.

February 7, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


There is no such collyrium or salve for sore eyes as these brightening lichens on a moist day. Go bathe and screen your eyes with them in the softened light of the woods.

February 4, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

A mild, thawy day. The needles of the pine are the touchstone for the air. Any change in that element is revealed to the practiced eye by their livelier green or increased motion. They are the tell-tales. Now they are (the white pine) a cadaverous, misty blue, anon a lively silvery light plays on them, and they seem to erect themselves unusually, while the pitch pines are a lighter yellowish green than usual. The sun loves to nestle in the boughs of the pine and pass rays through them.


––The scent of bruised pines leaves where a sled has passed is a little exciting to me now.

February 3, 1841

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The present seems never to get its due. It is the least obvious, neither before nor behind, but within us. All the past plays into this moment, and we are what we are. My aspiration is one thing, my reflection another; but, overall, myself and condition––is and does.

February 2, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:


It is remarkable that the straw-colored sedge of the meadows, which in the fall is one of the least noticeable colors, should now, that the landscape is mostly covered with snow, be perhaps the most noticeable of all objects in it for its color, and an agreeable contrast to the snow…