May 11

1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The birches at a distance appear as a thin green veil—in their expanding leaves.


1856 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Either nature may be changed or man. Some animals, as frogs or musquash are fitted to live in the marsh.


Only a portion of the earth is habitable by man. Is the earth improving or deteriorating in this respect? Does it require to be improved by the hands of man or is man to live more naturally and so more safely?

May 10, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


For some reason I now remember the autumn….We remember the autumn to best advantage in the spring—the finest aroma of it reaches us then.

May 9

1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The gray-misty looking deciduous woods now appear to inbosom the evergreens which before stood out distinct—



May 8, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

 A fresh scent blows up from the meadows, the river rapidly going down….I am most impressed by the rapidity of the changes within a week…Methinks the scent is a more primitive inquisition than the eye.— more oracular and trust-worthy.  When I criticize my own writing I go by the scent, as it were. The scent reveals of course what is concealed from the other senses— By it I detect earthiness.


May 7, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I think that birds vary their notes considerably with the seasons.


When I hear a bird singing I cannot think of any words that will imitate it––

May 6, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is pleasant when the road winds along the side of a hill with a thin fringe of wood through which to look into the low land—


It furnishes both shade & frame for your pictures as this corner road.

May 5, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

A really warm day. I perspire in my thick coat….The maple-tops show red with their blossoms against the higher trees….The red maples & elms now covered with full rich [color] are now on the whole the most common & obvious blossoms. 


It is their season, and they are worthy of it…Every part of the world is beautiful today—

May 3, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

How cheering & glorious any landscape viewed from an eminence!  For every one has its horizon & sky. It is so easy to take wide views.


Snow on the mts.  The wood thrush reminds me of cool mt. springs & morning walks.

May 2, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The handsome blood red lackered?—marks on the edge & under the edge of the painted-tortoises shell—like the marks on a waiter—concentric—few colors like it in nature. This tortoise too like the guttata painted on these parts of its shell and on legs & tail in this style—but throat bright yellow stripes.  Sternum dull Yellowish or buff. It hisses like the spotted— Tortoises everywhere coupling— Is the male the large & flatter with depressed sternum—  It so seems? There is  some regularity in the guttatas spots—generally a straight row on back. Some of the spots are orange some times on the head. 


May 1, 2018

May 1, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


The smell of our fresh meadows—from which the flood has in some measure receded—reminds me of the scent of salt marshes to which it corresponds.  A coarse grass is starting up all the greener & more luxuriant for the freshet—1 foot high.