March 31, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:  

Intended to get up early this morning and commence a series of spring walks, but clouds and drowsiness prevented…How can one help being an early riser and walker in that season when the birds begin to twitter and sing in the morning?


March 29, 1855


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This which is a chilling wind to my fellow is decidedly refreshing to me…I feel an impulse also already to jump into the half melted pond.

March 28, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We know too well what shall have for our Saturday’s dinner—but each days feast in Nature’s year is a surprise to us & adapted to our appetite & spirits—


She has arranged such an order of feasts as never tires–  Her motive is not economy but satisfaction.

March 27, 1842


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The eye must be firmly anchored to this earth which beholds birches and pines waving in the breeze in a certain light—a serene rippling light.

March 26, 1842

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I thank God that the cheapness which appears in time and the world—the trivialness of the whole scheme of things—is in my own cheap and trivial moment. 

I am time and the world. 

I assert no independence.

In me are summer and winter—village life and commercial routine—Pestilence and famine and refreshing breezes—joy and sadness—life and death….

He who does not borrow trouble does not lend it…

I wish to communicate those parts of my life which I would gladly live again…

It is hard to be a good citizen of the world in any great sense—but if we do render no interest or increase to mankind out of that talent God gave us—we can at least preserve the principal unimpaired.


March 23, 1856


in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I think what were the various sounds and notes, the migrations and works, and changes of fur and plumage which ushered in the spring and marked the other seasons of the year, I am reminded that this my life in nature, this particular round of natural phenomena which I call a year, is lamentably incomplete.  I listen to [a] concert in which so many parts are wanting. The whole civilized country is to some extent turned into a city, and I am that citizen whom I pity. Many of those animal migrations and other phenomena by which the Indians marked the season are no longer to be observed.  I seek acquaintance with Nature, ––to know her moods and manners….I am reassured and reminded that I am the heir of eternal inheritances which are inalienable, when I feel the warmth reflected from the sunny bank, and see the yellow sand and the reddish soil, and hear some dried leaves rustle and the trickling of melted snow in some sluiceway. The eternity which I detect in Nature I predicate of myself also. How many springs I have had this same experience! I am encouraged for I recognize this stead persistency and recovery of Nature as a quality of myself.

March 22, 1852



in Thoreau’s Journal:

As soon as those spring morning arrive in which the birds sing I am sure to be an early riser—  I am waked by my genius— I wake to inaudible melodies, and am surprised to find myself awaiting the dawn—in so serene and joyful & expectant a mood. I have an appointment with spring.

March 21, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is a genial and reassuring day; the mere warmth of the west wind amounts almost to balminess. The softness of the air mollifies our own dry and congealed substance. I sit down by a wall to see if I can muse again.  We become, as it were, pliant and ductile again to strange but memorable influences; we are led a little way by our genius. We are affected like the earth, and yield to the elemental tenderness. Winter breaks up within us. The frost is coming out of me, and I am heaved like the road. Accumulated masses of ice and snow dissolve, and thoughts like a freshet, pour down unwonted channels.  A strain of music comes to solace the traveler over earth’s downs and dignify his chagrins. The petty men whom he meets are shadows of grander to come. Roads lead else-wither than to Carlisle and Sudbury. The earth is uninhabited, but fair to inhabit, like the old  Carlisle road. Is, then, the road so rough that it should be neglected?  Not only narrow, but rough, is the way that leads to life everlasting. Our experience does not wear upon us. It is seen to be fabulous or symbolical, and the future is worth expecting.


Encouraged, I set out once more to climb the mountain of the earth, for my steps are symbolical.

March 20, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

We too are out obeying the same law with all nature– Not less important are the observers of the birds than the birds themselves.


March 19, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

By the river I see distinctly red-wings and hear their conqueree. They are not associated with grackles. They are an age before their cousins, have attained to clearness and liquidity; they are officers, epauleted. The others are rank and file. I distinguish one even by its flight, hovering slowly from tree-top to tree-top, as if ready to utter its liquid notes. Their whistle is very clear and sharp, while that of the grackle is ragged and split.

March 18, 1852

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in Thoreau’s Journal:

This afternoon the woods & walls and the whole face of the country wears once more a wintry aspect—though there is more moisture in the snow—and the trunks of the trees are whitened now on a more southerly or SE side––

March 17, 1857


in Thoreau’s Journal:

No mortal is alert enough to be present at the first dawn of the spring, but he will presently discover some evidence that vegetation had awaked some days at least before.

March 16, 1840


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The ducks alight at this season on the windward side of the river in the smooth water, and swim about by twos and threes, pluming themselves and diving to peck at the root of lily, and the cranberries which the frost has not loosened.  It is impossible to approach them within gunshot when they are accompanied by the gull, which rises sooner and makes them restless. They fly to windward first in order to get under weigh, and are more easily reached by the shot if approached on that side. When preparing to fly they swim about with their heads erect, and then, gliding along a few feet with their bodies just touching the surface, rise heavily with much splashing, and fly low at the first, if not suddenly aroused, but otherwise rise directly to survey the danger. The cunning sportsman is not in haste to desert his position, but waits to ascertain if, having got themselves into flying trim, they will not return over the ground in their course to a new resting-place.

March 15, 1852


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This afternoon I throw off my outside coat. A mild spring day–– I must hie to the great Meadows. The air is full of blue-birds.  The ground almost entirely bare. The villagers are out in the sun––and every man is happy whose work takes him out doors–– I go by sleepy Hollow toward the Great Fields–– I lean over a rail to hear what is in the air liquid with the blue-bird’s warble. My life partakes of infinity. The air is as deep as our natures. Is the drawing in of this vital air attended with no more glorious results than I witness? The air is a velvet cushion against which I press my ear–– I go forth to make new demands on life. I wish to begin this summer well––to do something in it worthy of it & of me–– To transcend my daily routine––& that of my townsmen to have my immortality now––that it be in the quality of my daily life. To pay the greatest price-the-greatest tax of any man in Concord––& enjoy the most!! I will give all I am for my nobility.  I will pay all my days for my success. I pray that the life of this spring & summer may ever lie fair in my memory. May I dare as I have never done.–– May my melody not be wanting to the season….It is reasonable that a man should be something worthier at the end of the year than he was at the beginning….We go out without our coats saunter along the streets look at the aments of the willow beginning to appear & the swelling buds of the maple & the elm.



March 12, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Memorable is the warm light of the spring sun on russet fields in the morning.

A new feature is being added to the landscape—and that is expanses of & reaches of blue water.



March 11, 1854 in Thoreau’s Journal:

On Tuesday, the 7th, I heard the first song-sparrow chirp, and saw it flit silently from alder to alder. This pleasant morning, after three days’ rain and mist, they generally burst forth into sprayey song from the low trees along the river.  The development of their song is gradual, but sure, like the expanding of a flower. This is the first song I have heard.