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.