September 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Who can believe that the mt peak which he beholds 50 miles off in the horizon, rising far & faintly blue above an intermediate range––while he stands on his trivial native hills––or in the dusty highway, can be the same with that which he looked up at once near at hand from a gorge in the midst of primitive woods. For a part of two days I travelled across lots once––loitering by the way––through primitive wood & swamps over the highest peak of the Peterboro Hills to Monadnock once––by ways from which all landlords & stage drivers endeavored to dissuade us–– It was not a month ago––  But now that I look across the globe in an instant to the dim monadnock peak––and these familiar fields & copse woods appear to occupy the greater part of the interval––I cannot realize that Joe Evely’s house still stands there at the base of the mt––& all that long tramp through wild woods with invigorating scents before I got to it–– I cannot realize that on the tops of those cool blue ridges are in abundance berries still, bluer than themselves––as if they borrowed their blueness from their locality.


From the mts we do not discern our native hills, but from our native hills we look out easily to the far blue mts which seem to preside over them. As I look north westward to that summit from a Concord cornfield how little can I realize all the life that is passing between me & it––the retired up country farm houses––the lonely mills––wooded vales––wild rocky pastures––and new clearings on stark mt sides––& rivers gurgling through primitive woods––!  All these and how much more I overlook.  I see the very peak––there can be no mistake––but how much I do not see that is between me & it––how much I over-look!  In this way we see stars. What is it but a faint blue cloud––a mist that may vanish––. But what is it on the other hand to one who has travelled to it day after day has threaded the forest & climbed the hills that are between this & that has tasted the raspberries or the blueberries that grow on it––& the springs that gush from it––has been wearied with climbing its rocky sides––felt the coolness of its summit––and been lost in the clouds there?