in Thoreau’s Journal:
Do you not feel the fruit of your spring and summer begin to ripen, to harden its seed within you? Do not your thoughts begin to acquire consistency as well as flavor and ripeness? How can we expect a harvest of thought who have not had a seed-time of character? Already some of my small thoughts — fruit of my spring life — are ripe, like the berries which feed the first broods of birds; and other some are prematurely ripe and bright, like the lower leaves of the herbs which have felt the summer’s drought—
Seasons when our mind is like the strings of a harp which is swept—& we stand and listen. A man may hear strains in his thought far surpassing any oratorio—
….Still autumnal–breezy with a cool vein in the wind––so that passing from the cool & breezy into the sunny & warm places you begin to love the heat of Summer–– It is the contrast of the cool wind with the warm sun. I walk over the pin-weed field. It is just cool enough––in my thin clothes–– There is a light on the earth & leaves as if they were burnished–– It is the glistening autumnal side of Summer–– I feel a cool vein in the breeze––which braces my thought––& I pass with pleasure over sheltered & sunny portions of the sand where the summers heat is undiminished––& I realize what a friend I am losing….This off side of summer glistens like a burnished shield. The waters now are some degrees cooler––winds show the undersides of the leaves–– The cool nocturnal creak of the crickets is heard in the midafternoon–– Tansy is ap. now in its prime & the early golden-rods have acquired a brighter yellow––
From this off side of the year––this imbricated slope with alternating burnished surfaces & shady ledges––much more light & heat is reflected (less absorbed) methinks than from the springward side. In the midsummer we are of the earth––confounded with it & covered with its dust. Now we begin to erect ourselves somewhat & walk upon its surface. I am not so much reminded of former years, as of existence prior to years–– From Peters I look over the great meadows. There are 60 or more men in sight on them––in squads of half-a dozen far & near––revealed by their white shirts–– They are alternately lost & reappear from behind a distant clump of trees. A great part of the farmers of Concord are now in the meadows. & toward night great loads of hay are seen rolling slowly along the rivers bank––on the firmer ground there––& perhaps fording the stream itself––toward the distant barn––followed by a troop of tired haymakers….