September 29, 1851

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The intense brilliancy of the red-ripe maples scattered here and there in the midst of the green oaks & hickories on its hilly shore is quite charming. They are unexpectedly & incredibly brilliant –especially on the western shore & close to the waters edge, where alternating with yellow birches & poplars & green oaks—they remind me of a line of soldiers red coats & riflemen in green mixed together. 


September 28, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


Ah if I could put into words that music that I hear—that music which can bring tears to the eyes of marble statues! To which the very muscles of men are obedient—

September 26, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Dreamed of purity last night. The thoughts seemed not to originate with me, but I was invested, my thought was tinged, by another’s thought. It was not I that originated, but that I entertained the thought. The river is getting to be too cold for bathing. There are comparatively few weeds left in it.

It is not in vain perhaps that every winter the forest is brought to our doors shaggy with lichens— Even in so humble a shape as a wood-pile it contains sermons for us.

Pm to Ministerial Swamp

The small cottony leaves of the fragrant everlasting in the fields for some time. Protected as it were by a little web of cotton against frost & snow— A little dense web of cotton spun over it-(entangled in it) as if to restrain it from rising higher.

The increasing scarlet & yellow tints around the meadows & river remind me of the opening of a vast flower bud—they are the petals of its corolla—which is of the width of the valleys— It is the flower of autumn whose expanding bud just begins to blush.  As yet however in the forest there are very few changes of foliage. The Polygonum articulatum giving a rosy tinge to Jenny’s desert & elsewhere is very interesting now with its slender dense racemes of rose tinted flowers—apparently without leaves—rising cleanly out of the sand.— It looks warm & brave—a foot or more high & mingled with deciduous blue curls. It is much divided into many spreading slender racemed branches—with inconspicuous linear leaves—reminding me both by its form & its color of a peach orchard in blossom—especially when the sun light falls on it. Minute rose tinted flowers that brave the frosts—& advance the summer into fall—warming with their color sandy hill sides & deserts—like the glow of evening reflected on the sand.

  Apparently, all flower & no leaf. A warm blush on the sand—after frosty night have come. Perhaps it may be called the “evening red.” Rising apparently with clean bare stems from the sand it spreads out into this graceful head of slender rosy racemes—wisp-like. This little desert of less than an acre blushes with it.


I see now ripe large (3 inch) very dark chocolate (?) colored puff-balls— Are they my 5 fingers puff-balls?  The tree fern is in fruit now with its delicate-tendril-like fruit climbing 3 or 4 feet over the asters, golden rods, &c on the edge of the swamp— The large ferns are yellow or brown now. Larks like robins fly in flocks. Dogsbane leaves a clear yellow. Succory in bloom at the Tommy Wheeler house—it bears the frost well—though we have not had much. Set out for use. The G. Plantaginifolium leaves—green above downy beneath.

September 24, 1858

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

A man must attend to nature closely for many years to know when, as well as where, to look for his objects, since he must always anticipate her a little….


I would know when in the year to expect certain thoughts and moods….


September 24, 1855 in Thoreau’s Journal: 

The button bushes pretty well browned with frost (though the maples are but just beginning to blush), their pale yellowish season past.


September 21, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The small scull cap & cress & the mullein still in bloom. I see pigeon woodpeckers oftener now with their light rears. Birches & elms begin to turn yellow—& ferns are quite yellow or brown in many places. I see many tall clustered bluish asters by the brooks like the A undulatus. The blue stemmed golden rod is abundant bright & in its prime. The maples begin to be ripe. How beautiful when a whole maple on the edge of a swamp is like one great scarlet fruit—full of ripe juices— A sign of the ripening—every leaf from lowest limb to topmost spire— is a-glow. The woodbine is red too & its berries are blueing. The flattened black berries of the cucumber root—with the triangular bases of its leaves tinged red beneath as a sort of cup for them.

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My red ball fungus blossoms in the path in the midst of its jelly. As I was walking through the maple swamp by the Corner spring I was surprised to see apples on the ground—and at first supposed that some body had dropped them, but looking up I detected a wild apple tree, as tall and slender as the young maples and not more than 5 inches in diameter at the ground. This had blossomed & borne fruit this year— The apples were quite mellow & of a very agreeable flavor—they they had a rusty scraperish look—and I filled my pockets with them. The squirrels had found them out before me. It is an agreeable surprise to find in the midst of a swamp so large and edible a fruit as an apple. Of late we have much cloudy weather without rain. Are not liable to showers as in summer—but may have a storm. The lentago berries appear to drop off before or as soon as they turn. There are few left on the bushes. Many that I bring home will turn in a single night. The sassafras leaves are red. The huckleberry bushes begin to redden. The white actaea berries still hang on—or their red pedicels remain. 

My friend is he who can make a good guess at me.  — hit me on the wing.

September 19


September 19, 1850 in Thoreau’s Journal:
The goldenrods and asters impress me not like individuals but great families covering a thousand hills and having a season to themselves.



September 19, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The soapwort gentian cheers & surprises with solid bulbs of blue from the shore—the stale grown purplish. It abounds along the river—after so much has been mown.

September 13

September 13, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Asters various shades of blue and especially the smaller kinds of dense flowering white ones are more than ever—by the roadsides….The golden glow of autumn concentrated—more golden than the sun….The earth wears different colors or liveries at different seasons.


If I come by at this season a golden blaze will salute me here from a thousand suns.  How earnestly & rapidly each creature—each flower is fulfilling its part while its day lasts!  Nature never lost a day—nor a moment — As the planet in its orbit & around its axis—so do the seasons— —so does time revolve with a rapidity inconceivable.

September 13, 1859


I remember my earliest going a-graping.  (It was a wonder we ever hit upon the ripe season.)