June 14, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Went through the woods along the old Canal to Haynes’ Pasture from the height of which we looked down on the rich New-Hampshire wood we had come out of––the ground rising within the wood gave it the appearance of woods rising by successive stages from a smaller growth on the edge to stately trees in the middle.  & Nobscot was seen in the S.W. through the blue furnace mist. This seems the true hour to be abroad sauntering far from home–– Your thoughts being already turned toward home––your walk in one sense ended–– You are in that favorable frame of mind described by De Quincy, open to great impressions––& you see those rare sights with the unconscious side of the eye––which you could not see by a direct gaze before––


Then the dews begin to descend in your mind & its atmosphere is strained of all impurities –– And home is farther away than ever––here is home ––the beauty of the world impresses you–– There is a coolness in your mind as in a well–– Life is too grand for supper.––  The wood-thrush launches forth his evening strains from the midst of the pines. I admire the moderation of this master–– There is nothing tumultuous in his song––he launches forth one strain with all his heart & life & soul––of pure & unmatchable melody––and then he pauses and gives the hearer & himself time to digest this and then another & at suitable intervals.  Men talk of the rich song of other birds––the thrasher––mocking bird––nightingale––but I doubt I doubt–– They no not what they say; There is as great an interval between the Thrasher & the Wood Thrush as between Thompson’s Seasons & Homer.  –– The sweetness of the day crystalizes in this morning coolness.