August 9, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This is the season of small fruits. I trust, too, that I am maturing some small fruit as palatable in these months, which will communicate my flavor to my kind.


August 8, 1852 

 in Thoreau’s Journal:  

Ambrosia artemisiaefolia. July was a month of dry torrid heat & drouth especially the fore part—Aug. thus far of gentle-rain storms & fogs-dog-days. Things mildew now— The sun is warm but it is damp & cool in shade. The colored willow herb is an interesting small flower-pink (?) or white with its long seed vessel in RR gutter by red house. Dodder Cuscuta Americana just out. Cerasus Virginiana is now dark almost quite black & rather edible— It was only red before. Elderberries almost ripe. I notice now along the North River—Horsemint—arrowhead—Cardinal flower—trumpet weed just coming out. Water parsnip—skullcap (lateriflora) Monkey flower &c &c

Rattlesnake plantain is budded. Rivers meander most not amid rugged mts. but through soft level meadows. In some places the ground is covered now with the black unbelled berries of the sarsaparilla. The naked Viburnum berries are now greenish white. Nabalus Albus (white lettuce) perhaps a week? Varies in leaves. Spiranthese gracilis slender neottia for some time. Goddyera repens—white veined rattlesnake plantain some days (?) Bartonia tenella (Centaurella) ap. leafless plant in earth in Ministerial swamp. Hieracium Gronovi (?)  An aster near the lygodium with numerous small white flowers ap either the unbelled or spreading of Big. Just opening.


No man ever makes a discovery—ever an observation of the least importance—but he is advertised of the fact by a joy that surprises him. The powers thus celebrate all discovery. The squirrels are now devouring the hazel nuts fast. A lupine blossomed again.

August 7, 1860

 in Thoreau’s Journal:



Morning –– dawn and sunrise ––was another interesting season.
I rose always by four or half past four to observe the signs of it and to correct my watch.

August 6, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I do not hear this morning the breathing of chip birds—nor the song of robins. Are the mornings now thus ushered in—are they as spring-like? Has not the year grown old. Methinks we do ourselves at any rate some what tire of the season–& observe less attentively and with less interest the opening of new flowers—and the song of the birds–


It is the signs of the fall that affect us most.

It is hard to live in the summer content with it.

August 5, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I cannot sufficiently admire the Rhexia one of the highest colored purple flowers—

but difficult to bring home in its perfection—with its fugacious petals.

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August 4, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A pleasant time to behold a small lake in the woods is in the interval of a gentle rainstorm at this season—when the air & water are perfectly still but the sky still overcast.


1st because the lake is very smooth at such a time—2nd as the atmosphere is so shallow & contracted—being low roofed with clouds—the lake as a lower heaven is much larger in proportion to it—  With its glassy reflecting surface it is somewhat more heavenly & more full of light—than the regions of the air above it.

August 3, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


At the E window. A temperate noon. I hear a cricket creak in the shade also the sound of a distant piano.  The music reminds me of imagined heroic ages—it suggests such ideas of human life and the field which the earth affords as the few noblest passages of poetry— Those few interrupted strains which reach me through the trees suggest the same thoughts & aspirations that all melody—by whatever sense appreciated has ever done— I am affected. 

August 1, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:



Early apples are ripe and the sopsinwine scents my handkerchief before I have perceived an odor from the orchards.
[‘Sops of Wine’ refers to two similar old English apple cultivars that have flesh stained with dark red, looking like bread soaked in wine. One of them is also known as ‘Rode Wyn Appel’ and the other ‘Sapson’.]