March 11, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:


I wish so to live ever as to derive my satisfaction and inspirations from the commonest events, every-day phenomena, so that what my senses hourly perceive in my daily walk, the conversations of my neighbors, may inspire me and I may dream of no heaven but that which lies about me.

March 10, 1841


in Thoreau’s Journal:  

Let us expect no finite satisfaction––who looks in the sun will see no light else––but also he will see no shadow. Our life revolves unceasingly––but the centre is ever the same––and the wise will regard only the seasons of the soul.

March 9, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

In the spaces of still, open water I see the reflection of the hills and woods, which for so long I have not seen, and it gives expression to the face of nature. The face of nature is lit up by these reflections in still water in the spring. Sometimes you see only the top of distant hill reflected far within the meadow, where a dull, gray field of ice intervenes between the water and the shore.

March 8

1840 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The wind shifts from northeast and east, to north-west and south, and every icicle which has tinkled on the meadow grass so long—trickles down its stem and seeks its water level unerringly with a million comrades. In the ponds the ice cracks with a busy and inspiriting din—and down the larger streams is whirled, grating hoarsely and crashing its way along—which was so lately a firm field for the woodman’s team and the fox—sometimes with the tracks of the skaters still fresh upon it—and the holes cut for pickerel. Town committees inspect the bridges and causeways—as if by mere eye-force to intercede with the ice, and save the treasury.


In the brooks the slight grating sound of small cakes of ice floating with various speed, is full of content and promise, and where the water gurgles under a natural bridge you may hear these hasty rafts hold conversation in an under tone.


Every rill is a channel for the juices of the meadow. Last years grasses and flower stalks have been steeped in rain and snow, and now the brooks flow with meadow tea—thoroughwort mint, flagroot and pennyroyal, all at one draught.

In the ponds the sun makes encroachments around the edges first, as ice melts in a kettle on the fire—darting his rays through this crevice; and preparing the deep water to act simultaneously on the under side.

1859 in Thoreau’s Journal:

To us snow and cold seem a mere delaying of the spring. How far we are from understanding the value of these things in the economy of Nature.

March 7, 1852


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Going through the high field beyond the lone grave-yard, I see the track of a boy’s sled before me, and his footsteps shining like silver between me and the moon; and now I come to where they have coasted in a hollow in the upland bean field, and there are countless tracks of sleds. I forget that the sun shone on them in their sport, as if I had reached the region of perpetual twilight, and their sports appear more significant and symbolical now, more earnest. For what a man does abroad by night requires and implies more deliberate energy than what he is encouraged to do in the sunshine.  He is more spiritual, less animal and vegetable, in the former case….This stillness is more impressive than any sound. The moon, the stars, the trees, the snow, the sand when bare, a monumental stillness whose void must be supplied by thought. 

March 5, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

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To the Beeches.  A misty afternoon, but warm, threatening rain. Standing on Walden, whose eastern shore is laid waste, men walking on the hillside a quarter of a mile off are singularly interesting objects, seen through the mist, which has the effect of a mirage. The persons of the walkers are black on the snowy ground, and the limited horizon makes them the more important in the scene. This kind of weather is very favorable to our landscape.


I must not forget the lichen-painted boles of the beeches.

March 4, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is discouraging to talk with men who will recognize no principles….


Up river on ice to Fairhaven Pond…The air is fresher & the sky clearer in the morning –– We have this morning the clear cold continent sky of January. The river is frozen solidly & I do not have to look out for openings. Now I can take that walk along the river highway & the meadow––which leads me under––the boughs of the maples & the swamp white oaks &c which in summer overhang the water––there I can now stand at my ease & study their phenomena––amid the sweet gale & button bushes projecting above the snow & ice.  I see the shore from the water side––  A liberal walk––so level & wide & smooth without under brush. 

March 3, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The slight robin snow of yesterday is already mostly dissipated, but where a heap still lingers the sun on the warm face of this cliff leads down a puny, tickling rill, moistening the gutters on the steep face of the rocks…You can trace the course of this trickling stream over the rock through such a patch of lichens by the olive green of the lichens alone. Here and there the same moisture refreshes and brightens up the scarlet crown of some little cockscomb lichen,


and when the rill reaches the perpendicular face of the cliff, its constant drip at night builds great organ pipes, of a ringed structure, which run together buttressing the rock.


Skating yesterday and to-day.

March 2, 1859


in Thoreau’s Journal:

We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-Maying. There may be a whole month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly any water; and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annual with the distant prospect of spring. 

March 1, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

No man writes on lichens using the terms of the science intelligibly—without having something to say—

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but everyone thinks himself competent to write on the relation of the soul to the body as if that were a phaenogamous subject.