July 30, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

In every meadow you see far or near the lumbering hay-cart with its mountainous load––& the rakers & mowers in white shirts–– The bittern hardly knows where to lay its legs. By the way I have heard no stake driver for some time. If the meadows were untouched I should no doubt see many more of the rare white & the beautiful smaller purple orchis there as I now see a few—along the shaded brooks & meadow’s edge.

July 29, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal

I am interested in an indistinct prospect, a distant view, a mere suggestion often, revealing an almost wholly new world to me. 

I rejoice to get, and am apt to present, a new view.

July 28, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Methinks the season culminated about the middle of this month––That the year was of indefinite promise before––   ––but that after the 1st intense heats we postponed the fulfillment of many of our hopes for this year––& having as it were attained the ridge of the summer––commenced to descend the long slope toward winter––the afternoon & down hill of the year––  Last evening it was much cooler––& I heard a decided fall sound of crickets––

July 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We should think sacredly, with devotion. That is one thing, at least, we may do magnanimously. May not every man have some private affair which he can conduct greatly, unhurriedly?

July 26, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

By intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.

July 25, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This morning is all the more glorious for a white fog, which, though not universal, is still very extensive over all lowlands, some fifty feet high or more, though there was none at ten last night. There are white cobwebs on the grass. The battalions of the fog are continually on the move.

July 23, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

But this habit of close observation— In Humboldt-Darwin & others. Is it to be kept up long—this science— Do not tread on the heels of your experience.  Be impressed without making a minute of it. Poetry puts an interval between the impression & the expression—waits till the seed germinates naturally.

July 21, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Nature is beautiful only as a place where a life is to be lived.  It is not beautiful to him who has not resolved on a beautiful life.

July 20, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The gentle susurrus from the leaves of the trees on shore is very enlivening, as if Nature were freshening, awakening to some enterprise. There is but little wind, but its sound, incessantly stirring the leaves at a little distance along the shore, heard not seen, is very inspiriting. It is like an everlasting dawn or awakening of nature to some great purpose.

July 19, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Here I am thirty-four years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in many instances that I may say I am unborn. There is the instinct for society, but no society. Life is not long enough for one success. Within another thirty-four years that miracle can hardly take place. Methinks my seasons revolve more slowly than those of nature; I am differently timed. I am contented. This rapid revolution of nature, even of nature in me, why should it hurry me? Let a man step to the music which he hears, however measured. Is it important that I should mature as soon as an apple tree? aye, as soon as an oak?


May not my life in nature, in proportion as it is supernatural, be only the spring and infantile portion of my spirit’s life? Shall I turn my spring to summer? May I not sacrifice a hasty and petty completeness here to entireness there? If my curve is large, why bend it to a smaller circle? My spirit’s unfolding observes not the pace of nature. The society which I was made for is not here. Shall I, then, substitute for the anticipation of that this poor reality? I would rather have the unmixed expectation of that than this reality. If life is a waiting, so be it. I will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality.

July 17, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Beck Stow’s Swamp! What an incredible spot to think of in town or city!


When life looks sandy and barren, is reduced to its lowest terms, we have no appetite, and it has no flavor, then let me visit such a swamp as this, deep and impenetrable, where the earth quakes for a rod around you at every step, with its open water where the swallows skim and twitter, its meadow and cotton-grass, its dense patches of dwarf andromeda, now brownish-green, with clumps of blueberry bushes, its spruces and its verdurous border of woods imbowering it on every side. The trees now in the rain look heavy and rich all day, as commonly at twilight, drooping with the weight of wet leaves. 

July 15, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

We seem to be passing or to have passed a dividing line between spring & autumn––& begin to descend the long slope toward winter…The stems of various asters & golden-rods which ere long will reign along the way begin to be conspicuous.

July 14, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

awake to a day of gentle rain––very much needed—none to speak of for nearly a month methinks. The cooler & stiller day has a valuable effect on my spirits….It holds up from time & then a fine misty rain falls. It lies on the fine reddish tops of some grasses thick & whitish like morning cobwebs. The stillness is very soothing. This is a summer rain. The earth is being bedewed. There is no storm or violence to it.  Health is a sound relation to nature.


July 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A Journal.  —a book that shall contain a record of all your joy—your extacy….


The northern wild red wild cherry is ripe—handsome bright red but scarcely edible—also, sooner than I expected….

July 12, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The early cotton grass is now about gone from Hubbard’s Close. With this month began the reign of river weeds obstructing the stream…A lilium Canadense (at Dodge Brook corner by road) approaching Superbum 4 1/2 feet high with a whorl of 4 flowers & 2 more above somewhat pyramidal & petals recurved.