in Thoreau’s Journal:
Moon not quite full– Going across Depot Field – The western sky is now a crescent of saffron inclining to salmon–a little dunnish perhaps. The grass is wet with dew–the evening star has come out but no other– There is no wind– I see a night hawk in the twilight flitting near the ground– I hear the hum of a beetle going by– The greenish fires of lightning bugs are already seen on the meadow– I pass through Hubbardston along the side of a field of oats–which wet one leg. I perceive the smell of a burning far off by the river, which I saw smoking 2 days ago. The moon is laboring in a mackerel cloud and my hopes are with her. Why do I hear no bull frogs yet– Do they ever trump as early and as universally as on that their first evening? I hear the whipper wills on different sides – White flowers alone show much at night–white clover–& white-weed It is commonly still at night as now– The day has gone by with its wind like the wind of a cannon ball–and now far in the west it blows–by that dun colored sky you may track it– There is no motion nor sound in the woods (Hubbards Grove) along which I am walking. The trees stand like great screens against the sky.
The distant village sounds, are the barking of dogs, that animal with which man has allied himself, and the rattling of wagons– For the farmers have gone into town shopping this Saturday night– The dog is the tamed wolf–as the villager is the tamed savage But here the crickets are heard in the grass chirping from everlasting to everlasting, a mosquito sings near my ear–and the humming of a dawbug drowns all the noise of the village. So roomy is the universe the moon comes out of the mackerel cloud and the traveller rejoices.
How can a man write the same thoughts by the light of the moon–resting his book on a rail by the side of a remote potato field–that he does by the light of the sun, on his study table. The light is but a luminousness– My pencil seems to move through a creamy mystic medium – The moonlight is rich & somewhat opaque like cream but The day light is thin & blue like skimmed milk– I am less conscious than in the presence of the sun–my instincts have more influence…