August 9, 1853 in Thoreau’s Journal:
How fatally the season is advanced toward the fall! I am not surprised now to see the small rough sunflower –– There is much yellow beside now in the fields. How beautiful now the early golden rods–– S. stricta rising above the wiry grass of the Great Fields in front of Peters where I sit (which is not worth cutting) not solid yellow like the sunflower––but little pyramidal or sheaf like golden clouds or mists supported by almost invisible leafy columns––which wave in the wind––like this elms which run up very tall & slender without a branch & fall over like a sheaf on every side. They give a very indefinite but rich mellow & golden aspect to the fields–– They are the agreeable for the indistinctness of their outline these pillars of fire, clouds which glow only on one side.