October 11

October 11, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Now it is true autumn—all things are crisp & ripe.


October 11, 1859:  

The note of the chickadee heard now in cooler weather  & above many fallen leaves––has a new significance.  

There was a very severe frost this Am prob ground stiffened a chestnut-opening frost.  A season-ripener––opener of the burrs that enclose the Indian summer––  Such is the cold of early or mid October.  The leaves and weeds had that stiff hoary appearance. 

October 10, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:


How agreeable to the eye at this season the color of new fallen leaves….sere & crisp. When freshly fallen with their forms & their veins still distinct they have a certain life in them still….You make a great noise now walking in the woods on account of the dry leaves—especially chestnut & oak—& maples that cover the ground….


The witch hazel loves a hill side with or without wood or shrubs. It is always pleasant to come upon it unexpectedly, as you are threading the woods in such places.

October 9, 1853


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The red maples are now red & also yellow & reddening. The white maples are green & silvery also yellowing and blushing— The birch is yellow —the black willow brown. The elms sere brown & thin —the bass bare—the button bush which was so late is already mostly bare except the lower part protected — The swamp wht oak is green with a brownish tinge. The Wht ash turned mulberry The white maples toward Ball’s hill have a burnt white appearance— The white oak a salmon color & also red— Is that scarlet oak rosed?— Huckleberries & blackberries are red.

The leaves are falling…

October 8, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The autumnal tints about the pond are now perfect—nothing can exceed the brilliancy of some of the maples which stand by the shore & extend their red banners over the water—why should so many be yellow?  I see the browner yellow of the chestnuts on Pine Hill—  The maples & hickories are a clearer yellow.  Some white oaks are red—  The shrub oaks are bloody enough for a ground—  The red & black oaks are yet green.

October 7


October 7, 1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Perhaps the autumnal tints are as bright & interesting now as they will be—now is the time to behold the maple swamps—one mass of red & yellow—all on fire as it were.   These and the blood red huckleberries are the most conspicuous—and then in the village the warm brownish yellow elms—& there and elsewhere the dark red ashes.  The green pines springing out of huckleberries on the hillsides look as if surrounded by red or vermillion paint….

I sit on Poplar Hill.  It is a warm Indian summerish afternoon. The sun comes out of clouds & lights up & warms the whole scene— It is perfect autumn….It is the mellowing year.  The sunshine harmonizes with the imbrowned & fiery foliage.


October 7, 1857 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Halfway up Fair Haven Hill, I am surprised for the thousandth time by the beauty of the landscape and sit down by the orchard wall to behold it in my leisure…..I do not know how to entertain those who cannot take long walks….I give up my forenoon to them, and get along pretty well, the very elasticity of the air and promise of the day abetting me; but they are as heavy as dumplings by mid-afternoon. If they can’t walk, why won’t they take an honest nap in the afternoon and let me go?

October 7, 1860 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Many people have a foolish way of talking about small things––& apologize for themselves or another having attended to a small thing––having neglected their ordinary business & amused or interested themselves by attending to a small thing––  When if the truth were known their ordinary business was the small thing––& almost their whole lives misspent––but they were such fools as not to know it.


October 6, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:  


The revolution of the seasons is a great and steady flow, a graceful, peaceful motion, like the swell on lakes and seas.

What is sacrificed to time is lost to eternity.

October 5, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

There is not now that profusion, and consequent confusion, of events which belongs to a summer walk. There are few flowers, birds, insects, or fruits now, and hence what does occur affects us as more simple and significant, as the cawing of a crow or the scream of a jay. The latter seems to scream more fitly and with more freedom through the vacancies occasioned by fallen maple leaves.

I hear the alarum of a small red squirrel, and see him running by fits and starts along a chestnut bough toward me. His head looks disproportionally large for his body, like a bull-dog’s, perhaps because he has his chaps full of nuts. He chirrups and vibrates his tail, holds himself in, and scratches along a foot as if it was a mile. He finds noise and activity for both of us. 


October 4, 1859

 in Thoreau’s Journal:


Now the year itself begins to be ripe….


….if it is required that you be affected by ferns, that they amount to anything, signify anything, to you, that they be another sacred scripture and revelation to you, helping to redeem your life, this end is not so surely accomplished.

October 3, 1840


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Why need I travel to seek a site, and consult the points of the compass? My eyes are south windows, and out of these I command a southern prospect. The eye does the least drudgery of any of the senses. It oftenest escapes to a higher employment. The rest serve and escort and defend it. I attach some superiority, even priority, to this sense. It is the oldest servant in the soul’s household; it images what it imagines, it ideates what it idealizes. Through it idolatry crept in which is a kind of religion. If any joy or grief is to be expressed, the eye is the swift runner that carries the news. In circumspection, double, in fidelity, single, it serves truth always, and carries no false news….How man serves this sense more than any other!  When he builds a house, he does not forget to put a window in the wall. We see truth. We are children of light. Our destiny is dark. No other sense has so much to do with the future. The body of science will not be complete till every sense has thus ruled our thought and language and action in its turn.

October 2, 1856


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The prinos berries are in their prime––seven sixteenths of an inch in diameter. They are scarlet––somewhat lighter than the arum berries.


 They are now very fresh and bright and what adds to their effect is the perfect freshness and greenness of the leaves amid which they are seen.

October 1, 1856


P1280741.jpegin Thoreau’s Journal:

Examined an Asclepias Cornuti pod, already opening. As they dry, the pods crack open by the seam along their convex or outer side, revealing the seeds with their silky parachutes, closely packed in an imbricated manner, already right side up, to the number in one instance of 134, as I counted, and again 270. As they lie, they resemble somewhat a round plump fish, with the silk ends exposed at the tail. Children call them fishes. The silk is divided once or twice by the raised partition of the spongy core around which they are arranged. At the top of some more open and drier, is already a little clump of loosened seeds and down two or three inches in diameter, held by the converging tips of the down, like meridians, and just ready to float away when the wind rises.