November 30, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is a pleasant day & the snow melting considerably….Though Walden is open— It is a perfect winter scene. This withdrawn but ample recess in the woods—with all that is necessary for a human residence—yet never referred to by the London Times & Galignani’s messenger—as some of those arctic bays are— some are hastening to Europe & some to the West Indies but here is a bay never steered for….

November 29, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

About three inches of snow fell last night. How light and bright the day now; methinks it is was good as a half hour added to the day. White houses no longer stand out and stare in the landscape. The pine woods snowed up look more like the bare oak woods with their gray boughs. The river meadows show now far off a dull straw color or pale brown amid the general white, where the coarse sedge rises about the snow; and distant oak woods are now indistinctly reddish. It is a clear and pleasant winter day. The snow has taken all the November out of the sky. 

November 28, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

A gray, overcast, still day, and more small birds, tree sparrows and chickadees, than usual about the house. There have been a very few fine snowflakes falling for many hours, and now, by 2 P.M., a regular snowstorm has commenced, fine flakes falling steadily, and rapidly whitening all the landscape. In half an hour the russet landscape is painted white, even to the horizon. Do we know of any other so silent and sudden a change?


I cannot now walk without leaving a track behind me. That is one peculiarity of winter walking. Anybody may follow my trail. I have walked, perhaps, a particular wild path along some swamp side all summer, and thought, to myself, I am the only villager that ever comes here. But I go out shortly after the first snow has fallen, and lo, here is the track of a sportsman and his dog in my secluded path, and probably he preceded me in the summer as well. But my hour is not his, and I may never meet him.

November 27, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Now a man will eat his heart if ever—now while the earth is bare barreen & cheerless—and we have the coldness of winter without the variety of ices & snow —but methinks the variety & compensation are in the stars now— How bright they are now by contrast with the dark earth! —The days are short enough now. The sun is already setting before I have reached the ordinary limit of my walk—but the 21st of next month the day will be shorter by about 25 minutes.

In December there will be less light than in any month in the year—

It is too cold today to use a paddle   the water freezes on the handle & numbs my fingers— I observe the Lycopodium lucidulum still of a free shining green—


Checquer berries & partridge berries are both numerous & obvious now—


November 25

in Thoreau’s Journal:


I feel a little alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit…This afternoon, late and cold as it is, has been a sort of Indian summer. Indeed, I think we have summer days from time to time the winter through, and that it is often the snow on the ground which makes the whole difference.


This afternoon the air was indescribably clear and exhilarating, and though the thermometer would have shown it to be cold, I thought there was a finer and purer warmth than in summer, a wholesome, intellectual warmth in which the body was warmed by the mind’s contentment, —the warmth hardly sensuous, but rather the satisfaction of existence.



I remember perhaps that 15 years ago there was not a single tree in this pasture– not a germinating seed—of one—& now it is a pretty dense forest 10 feet high— I confess that I love to be convinced of this inextinguishable vitality in Nature. I would rather that my body should be buried in a soil thus wide-awake—than in a mere inert & dead earth.

November 24, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The first spitting of snow—a flurry or squall—from out a gray or slate colored cloud that came up from the west—This consisted almost entirely of pellets an eighth of an inch or less in diameter– These drove along almost horizontally curving upward like the outline of a breaker—before the strong & chilling wind. The plowed fields were for a short time whitened with them— The green moss about the barest trees was very prettily  spotted white with them—and also the large beds of cladonia in the pastures— They come to contrast with the red cockspur lichens on the stumps which you had not noticed before—


Striking against the trunks of the trees on the west side they fell & accumulated in a white line at the base—Though a slight touch, this was the first wintry scene of the season— The air was so filled with these snow pellets that we could not see a hill half a mile off for an hour— The hands seek the warmth of the pockets—& fingers are so be-numbed that you as cannot open your jacknife. 


November 23


1850 in Thoreau’s Journal:

The apple season is well-nigh over.

1852 in Thoreau’s Journal:

This morning the ground is white with snow—and it still snows. This is the first time it has been fairly white this season, though once before many weeks ago it was slightly whitened for 10 or 15 minutes….There is something genial even in the first snow–& nature seems to relent a little of her November harshness. 


Men too are disposed to give thanks for the bounties of the year all over the land–& the sound of the mortar is heard in all houses–& the odor of summer savory reaches even to poets’ garrets.

November 22, 1860



in Thoreau’s Journal:

Though you are finger-cold toward night, and you cast a stone on your first ice, and see the unmelted crystals under every bank, it is glorious November weather.

November 21, 1850

in Thoreau’s Journal:


October must be the month of ripe & tinted leaves — Throughout November they are almost entirely withered & somber—the few that remain. In this month the sun is valued—when it shines warmer or brighter we are sure to observe it— There are not so many colors to attract the eye. We begin to remember the summer. We walk fast to keep warm. For a month past I have sat by a fire.

November 19, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Up river in boat to Hubbard’s meadow cranberrying —


They redden all the lee shore—the water being still ap. at the same level with the 16th ult. This is a very pleasant & warm Indian summer afternoon…Got 1 1/2 bushels of cranberries mixed with chaff.

November 18, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The sunlight is peculiarly thin & yellow falling on the pale brown bleaching herbage of the fields at this season. There is no redness in it— This is November sunlight.

Much cold slate-colored cloud—bare twigs seen gleaming toward the light like gossamer—pure green of pines whose old leaves have fallen—reddish or yellowish brown oak leaves rustling on the hillsides—very pale brown bleaching—almost hoary fine grass or hay in the fields—akin to the frost which has killed it—& flakes of clear yellow sunlight falling on it here and there—such is November. 


The fine grass killed by this frost & bleached till it is almost silvery has clothed the fields for a long time. 

Now as in the Spring, we rejoice in sheltered and sunny places. Some corn is left out still even—

November 17, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The very sunlight on the pale-brown-bleached fields is an interesting object these cold days. I naturally look toward it as a wood fire. Not only different objects are presented to our attention at different seasons of the year, but we are in a frame of body and mind to appreciate different objects at different seasons.  I see one thing when it is cold and another when it is warm.


November 16, 1850 in Thoreau’s Journal:

Some of our richest days are those in which no sun shines outwardly, but so much the more a sun shines inwardly. I love nature. I love the landscape because it is so sincere. It never cheats me. It never jests— It is cheerfully—musically earnest. I rely on the earth….


November 15, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A very pleasant Indian summer day.  P.M. To Ledum swamp. I took up the river from the railroad bridge. It is perfectly smooth between the uniformly tawny meadows, and I see several muskrat cabins off Hubbard shore, distinctly outlined, as usual, in the November light. I hear in several places a faint cricket note, either a fine z-ing, or a distincter creak; also see and hear a grasshopper’s crackling flight. The clouds were never more fairly reflected in the water than now, as I look up the cyanean reach from Clamshell.


A fine gossamer is streaming from every fence, tree, and stubble, though a careless observer would not notice it. As I look along over the grass toward the sun at Hosmer’s field beyond Lupine Hill, I notice the shimmering effect of the gossamer, which seems to cover it almost like a web, occasioned by its motion, though the air is so still. This is noticed at least forty rods off. I turn down Witherel Glade, only that I may bring it tufts of andropogon between me and the sun.

November 14, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is very cold and windy— Thermometer 26+.  I walk to Walden & andromeda ponds— It is all at once perfect winter. I walk on frozen ground 2/3 covered with a sugaring of dry snow—& this strong & cutting NW wind makes the oak leaves rustle drily enough to set your heart on edge—


A great many  have fallen ever since the snow last evening.  Take a citizen into an oak sprout land out when there is a sugaring of dry snow—& a cold cutting N.W. wind rustles the leaves. A sympathetic shiver will seize him. He will know of no fire to warm his wits by. He has no pleasing pursuit to follow thro’ these difficulties—no trap to inspect—no chopping to do— Every resounding step on the frozen earth is a vain knocking at the door of what was lately genial Nature—his bountiful mother—now turned step mother— He is left out side to starve— The rustling leaves sound like the fierce breathing of an endless pack of wolves half famished from the north––impelled by hunger to seize him.

November 13, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Truly a hard day—hard Times these.  Not a mosquito left. Not an insect to hum. Crickets gone into winter quarters— Friends long since gone there—& you left to walk on frozen ground—with your hands in your pockets.  Ah but is not this a glorious time for your deep inward fires?— & will not your green hickory & white oak burn clean—in this frosty air?  


….All fields lie fallow —  Shall not your mind?  True the freezing ground is being prepared for immeasurable snows.— but there are brave thoughts within you that shall remain to rustle the winter through like white oak leaves upon your bough—or like scrub oaks that remind the traveller of a fire upon the hill sides—or evergreen thoughts cold even in mid summer by their nature shall contrast more fairly with the snow.


November 11, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I am glad of the shelter of the thick pine wood on the Marlboro’ road—on the plain. The roar of the wind over the pines sounds like the surf on countless beaches—an endless shore—& at intervals it sounds like a gong resounding through the halls & entries. How the wind roars among the shrouds of the wood  i.e. there is a certain resounding woodiness in the tone— The sky looks mild & fair enough from this shelter.— every withered blade of grass & every dry weed—as well as pine needle—reflects light—  The lately dark woods are open & light—the sun shines in upon the stems of trees which it has not shone on since spring —


Around the edges of ponds the weeds are dead and there too the light penetrates— The atmosphere is less moist & gross & light is universally dispersed. We are greatly indebted to these transition seasons or states of the atmosphere—which show us thus phenomena which belong not to the summer or the winter of any climate. The brilliancy of the autumn is wonderful—this flashing brilliancy—as if the atmosphere were phosphoric…

Say’s I to my-self should be the motto of my Journal.