in Thoreau’s Journal:
We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-Maying. There may be a whole month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly the water; and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annually with the distant prospect of spring. As if a man were to warm his hands by stretching them towards the rising sun and rubbing them. We listen to the February cock-crowing and turkey gobbling as to a first course or prelude.
The bluebird, which some woodchopper or inspired walker is said to have seen in the sunny interval between the snow storms, is like a speck of clear blue sky seen near the end of a storm, reminding us of an ethereal region, and a heaven which we have forgotten. Princes and magistrates are often styled serene, but what is their turbid serenity to that ethereal serenity which the bluebird embodies. His most serene Birdship! His soft warble melts in the ear as the snow is melting in the valleys around. The bluebird comes, and with his warble drills the ice, and sets free the rivers and ponds and frozen ground. As the sand flows down the slopes a little way, assuming the forms of foliage when the frost comes out of the ground, so this little rill of melody flows a short way down the concave of the sky.