April 30, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The neatly & closely folded plaited leaves of the hellebore are rather handsome objects now— As you pull them apart they emit a slight marshy scent some what like the skunk cabbage—  They are tender—& dewy within—folded fan-like.


April 29, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The may-flower on the point of blossoming— I think I may say that it will blossom to-morrow. The blossoms of this plant are remarkably concealed beneath the leaves—perhaps for protection— It is singularly unpretending—not seeking to exhibit or display its simple beauty.


It is the most delicate flower both to eye & to scent as yet— Its weather worn leaves do not adorn it. If it had fresh spring leaves it would be more famous & sought after.

April 28, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

In the most favorable locality you will find flowers earlier than the May goers will believe.

April 27, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I find today for the first time the early saxifrage saxifraga vernalis in blossom—growing high and dry in the narrow seams—where there is no soil for it but a little green moss.—following thus early after the bare rock—



it is one of the first flowers not only in the spring of the year but in the spring of the world.— It can take advantage of a perpendicular cliff where the snow cannot lie & fronting the S.

April 26, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

What they call April weather—threatening rain notwithstanding the late long continued rains—  Pm.  Rambled amid the shrub oak hills beyond Haden’s. Lay on the dead grass in a cup-like hollow sprinkled with half dead low shrub oaks— As I lie flat looking close in among the roots of the grass I perceive that its endless ribbon has pushed up about one inch & is green to that extent—such is the length to which the spring has gone here—though when you stand up the green is not perceptible.  It is a dull rain dropping & threatening afternoon.— inclining to drowsiness—

I feel as if I could go to sleep under a hedge—


The landscape wears a subdued tone—quite soothing to the feelings—no glaring colors.

April 25, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The may flower is well budded & ready to blossom but not yet out—nor the Andromeda—nor saxifrage—nor violet that I can find. I am surprised to find the cowslip in full bloom at 2nd Div meadow.  numerous flowers. Growing in the water is not comparatively so backward this year perhaps. Its heart or kidney shaped crenate green leaves which had not freshly grown when I was here before have suddenly pushed up. The snows soon melted on this meadow. The horse tail too is ready to flower. And what is the low regular red-leaved & red rooted plant in the meadow with the cowslip? Yet we walk over snow & ice a long distance in the road here.


April 22, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

From Cliffs see much snow on the mts.  The Pine on Lee’s shore of the Pond seen against the light water this cloudy weather—from part way down the cliff is an agreeable object to me.


When the outline & texture of white pine is thus seen against the water or the sky it is an affecting sight.

April 21, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I love in this weather to look abroad & let my eye fall on some sandy hill clothed with pitch pines on its sides, & covered on its top with the whitish cladonia lichen—usually so dry—but now saturated with water—  It reminds me of northern Regions….


They are agreeable colors to my eye—the green pine & on the summit the patches of whitish moss like mildew seen through the mist & rain.— for I think perhaps how much moisture that soil can bear, how grateful it is to it.


April 20, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


Turned up the Juniper repens on Conantum yesterday with my foot—which above had a reddish & rusty look.  Beneath it was of an unexpectedly fine glaucous tinge with a bright green inmixed.  Like many things it looks best in the rain.


April 19, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

That oak by Darbys is a grand object seen from any side— It stands like an athlete & defies the tempests in every direction. It has not a weak point. It is an agony of strength. Its branches look like stereotyped gray lightning on the sky.


But I fear a price is set upon its sturdy trunk & roots—for ship timber—for knees to make stiff the side of ships against the Atlantic billow. Like an athlete it shows its well developed muscles.

April 18, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The ground is now generally bare of snow—though it lies along walls  & on the north sides of vallies in the woods—pretty deep—  We have had a great deal of foul weather this season—scarcely two fair days together….


….This is the spring of the year— Birds are migrating northward to their breeding places; the melted snows are escaping to the sea.  We have now the unspeakable rain of the Greek winter. The element of water prevails. The river has far overflown its channel.



April 17, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The Pond is still half covered—with ice & it will take another day like this to empty it. It is clear up tight to the shore on the S side. Dark grey cold ice—completely saturated with water— The air from over it is very cold— The scent of the earliest spring flowers! I smelt the willow catkins today. Tender—& innocent—after this rude winter—yet slightly sickening— — Yet full of vernal promise.



This odor— How unlike any thing that winter afforded—or nature has afforded this 6 months! A mild sweet vernal scent— Not highly spiced & intoxicating as some erelong—but attractive to bees— That early yellow smell. The odor of spring—of life developing amid buds—of the earth’s epithalamium— The first flowers are not the highest scented—as catkins—as the first birds are not the finest singers—as the black-birds & song sparrows &c. The beginnings of the year are humble. But though this fragrance is not rich—it contains & prophecies all others in it.

April 16, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Would it not be worth the while to describe the different states of our meadows which cover so large a portion of the town. It is not as if we had a few acres only of water surface—


From every side the milk-man rides over long causeways into the village—& carries the vision of much meadow’s surface with him into his dreams.— They answer to moods of the Concord mind. — There might be a chapter [on] the Sudbury meadows—the humors of the town—

April 14, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The different parts of Fair Haven Pond—the meadow beyond the Buttonbush & willow curve—the Island, & meadow between the island & mainland with its own defining lines—are all parted off like the parts of a mirror…


April 13, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

A driving snowstorm in the night & still raging—5 or 6 inches deep on a level at 7 AM.  All birds are turned into snow birds. Trees and houses have put on the aspect of winter. The travelers carriage wheels, the farmer’s wagon are converted into white disks of snow through which the spokes hardly appear. But it is good now to stay in the house & read & write.


We do not now go wandering all abroad & dissipated—but the imprisoning storm condenses our thoughts— I can hear the clock tick as not in pleasant weather—  My life is enriched—  


Snowed all day till the ground was covered 8 inches deep.


April 12, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I look closely I perceive the sward beginning to be green under my feet—very slightly. It rains with sleet & hail yet not enough to color the ground. At this season I can walk in the fields without wetting my feet in grass.


April 12, 2016

April 11, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A pure brook is a very beautiful object to study minutely. 

It will bear the closest inspection, even to the fine air-bubbles, like minute globules of quicksilver, that lie on its bottom.


The minute particles or spangles of golden mica in these sands, when the sun shines on them, remind one of the golden sands we read of. Everything is washed clean and bright, and the water is the best glass through which to see it…