February 8, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This afternoon the first crust to walk on. It is pleasant to walk over the fields raised a foot or more above their summer level—and the prospect is altogether new…


In this winter often no apparent difference between rivers, ponds & fields.

February 7, 1858

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

If possible, come upon the top of a hill unexpectedly, perhaps through woods,

and then look off from it to the distant earth which lies behind a bluer veil,

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before you can see direct down it, i.e.,

bringing its own near top against the distant landscape.

February 5, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The trunks & branches of the trees are of different colors at dif. times & in dif. lights & weathers. In sun, rain, & in the night. The oaks bare of leaves on Hubbards hill side are now a light grey in the sun and their boughs seen against the pines behind are a very agreeable maze. The stems of the white pines also are quite grey at this distance with their lichens. I am detained to contemplate the boughs—feathery boughs of the white pines, tier above tier, reflecting a silvery light—with intervals (between them) though which you look, if you so intend your eye, into the darkness of the grove. That is you can see both the silvery lighted & greenish bough—& the shadowy intervals as belonging to one tree—or more truly refer the latter to the shade behind.

February 4, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


A mild, thawy day. The needles of the pine are the touch-stone for the air—any change in that element is revealed to the practiced eye by their livelier green or increased motion. They are the tell-tales. Now they are (the white pine) a cadaverous, misty blue—anon a lively silvery light plays on them —& they seem to erect themselves unusually—while the pitch pines are a brighter yellowish green than usual—The sun loves to nestle in the boughs of the pine & pass rays through them.


The scent of bruised pine leaves where a sled has passed is a little exciting to me now…

February 3, 1841

 in Thoreau’s Journal:

I would meet the morning and evening on very sincere ground. When the sun introduces me to a new day, I silently say to myself, “Let us be faithful all round. We will do justice and receive it.”


Something like this is the secret charm of Nature’s demeanor towards us, strict conscientiousness, and disregard of us when we have ceased to have regard for ourselves. So she can never offend us. How true she is, and never swerves. In her most genial moment her laws are as steadfastly and relentlessly fulfilled….as in her sternest.  

February 2, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Already we begin to anticipate spring, to say that the day is spring-like. This is an important difference between this time and a month ago. Is not January the hardest month to get through?


When you have weathered that, you get into the gulf stream of winter, nearer the shores of spring.