March 31, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is suddenly warm, and this amelioration of the weather is incomparably the most important fact in this vicinity. It is incredible what a revolution in our feelings and in the aspect of nature this warmer weather has produced. Yesterday the earth was simple to barrenness, and dead, bound out. Out of doors there was nothing but the wind and withered grass, and the cold though sparkling blue water, and you were driven in upon yourself. 

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Now, you would think there was a sudden awakening in the very crust of the earth, as if flowers were expanding and leaves putting forth; but not so….No, the change is mainly in us. We feel as if we had obtained a new lease of life.

March 30, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I go to Fair Haven via the Andromeda Swamps. The snow is a foot and more in depth there still. There is a little bare ground in and next to the swampy woods at the head of Well Meadow, where the springs and little black rills are flowing. I see already one blade, three or four inches long, of that purple or lake grass, lying flat on some water, between snow-clad banks, – the first leaf with a rich bloom on it.


How silent are the footsteps of Spring! …The spring advances in spite of snow and ice and cold even….In warm recesses in meadows and clefts, in rocks in the midst of ice and snow, nay, even under the snow, vegetation commences and steadily advances.

March 29, 1858

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

As I sit two thirds up the sunny side of Ball Hill, looking over the meadows, now almost completely bare, the crows, by their swift flight and scolding, reveal to me some large bird of prey hovering over the river.


March 28, 1855

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


I run about these cold, blustering days, on the whole, perhaps, the worst to bear in the year (partly because they disappoint expectation) looking almost in vain for some animal or vegetable life stirring…

March 26, 1857

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

You take your walk some pretty cold and windy, but sunny, March day through rustling woods, perhaps, glad to take shelter in the hollows or on the south side of hills or woods.


March 24, 1857

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

We describe only what we have had time to digest and dispose of in our minds, without being conscious that there were other things really more novel and interesting to us, which will not fail to occur to us and impress us suitably at last.


How little that occurs to us are we prepared at once to appreciate.

March 23, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I think what were the various sounds and notes, the migrations and works, and changes of fur and plumage which ushered in the spring and marked the other seasons of the year,

I am reminded that this my life in nature, this particular round of natural phenomena which I call a year, is lamentably incomplete.

I listen to [a] concert in which so many parts are wanting. The whole civilized country is to some extent turned into a city, and I am that citizen whom I pity. Many of those animal migrations and other phenomena by which the Indians marked the season are no longer to be observed.


I seek acquaintance with Nature, ––to know her moods and manners.

March 22, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

As soon as those spring mornings arrive in which the birds sing,

I am sure to be an early riser….


I have an appointment with Spring.

March 21, 1854

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

River skimmed over at Willow Bay last night. Thought I should find ducks cornered up by the ice. They get behind this hill for shelter….I crawled far on my stomach and got a near view of them….


March 20, 1855

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

We notice the color of the water especially at this season, when it is recently revealed (and in the fall) because there is little color elsewhere. It shows best in a clear air, contrasting with the russet shores.


March 19, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We are interested in the phenomena of nature mainly as children are, or as we are in games of chance. They are more or less exciting. Our appetite for novelty is insatiable. We do not attend to ordinary things, though they are most important, but to extraordinary ones.


While it is only moderately hot or cold, or wet or dry, nobody attends to it, but when nature goes to an extreme in any of these directions we are all on the alert with excitement….this is a perfectly legitimate amusement only we should know that each day is peculiar and has its kindred excitements.

March 18, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

This afternoon the woods & walls and the whole face of the country wears once more a wintry aspect—though there is more moisture in the snow—and the trunks of the trees are whitened now on a more southerly or SE side––


March 17, 1842

in Thoreau’s Journal:

What means this changing sky, that now I freeze and contract and go within myself to warm me, and now I say it is a south wind and go all soft and warm along the way? I sometimes wonder if I do not breathe the south wind.


March 16, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The ducks alight at this season on the windward side of the river in the smooth water, and swim about by twos and threes, pluming themselves and diving to peck at the root of the lily, and the cranberries which the frost has not loosened….


They fly to windward first in order to get under weigh….When preparing to fly they swim about with their heads erect, and then, gliding along a few feet with their bodies just touching the surface, rise heavily with much splashing, and fly low at first….

March 14, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

No sooner has the ice of Walden melted than the wind begins to play in dark ripples over the face of the virgin water. It is affecting to see Nature so tender, however, old and wearing none of the wrinkles of age. Ice dissolved is the next moment as perfect water as if it had been melted a million years. To see that which was lately so hard and immovable now so soft and impressible.


What if our moods could dissolve thus completely? It is like a flush of life on a cheek that was dead. It seems as if it must rejoice in its own newly acquired fluidity, as it affects the beholder with joy. Often the March winds have no chance to ripple its face at all.

March 13, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The barrenest surfaces are perhaps the most interesting in such weather as yesterday, where the most terrene colors are seen. The wet earth and sand, and especially subsoil, are very invigorating sights.


March 13, 2016

March 12, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:


I go further east and look across the meadows to Bedford, and see the peculiar scenery of March in which I have taken so many rambles; the earth just bare and beginning to be dry, the snow lying on the north side of hills, the gray, deciduous trees, and the green pines soughing in the March wind. They look now as if deserted by a companion, the snow. When you walk over bare, lichen-clad hills, just beginning to be dry, and look afar over the blue water on the meadows, you are beginning to break up your winter quarters and plan adventures for the new year. The scenery is like, yet unlike, November. You have the same barren russet, but now instead of a dry, hard, cold wind, a peculiarly soft, moist air, or else a raw wind. Now is the reign of water. I see many crows on the water’s edge these days. It is astonishing how soon the ice has gone our of the river. But it sill lies on the bottom of the meadow.