in Thoreau’s Journal:
About an inch of snow fell last night—but the ground was not at all frozen or prepared for it—a little greener grass & stubble here & there seems to burn its way through it this forenoon—
The snow is the great track-revealer—I come across the tracks of persons who at different hour from myself have crossed—& perhaps often cross some remote field on their errands—where I had not suspected a predecessor—& the track of the dog or staff are seen too. The latter have tracked their whole pasture over. —as if there had been a thousand.
I have thus silent but unerring evidence of any who have crossed the fields since last night– It is pleasant to see tracks leading towards the woods to be reminded that any have engagements there. Yet for the most part the snow is quite untrodden– Most fields have no tracks of man in them– I only see where a squirrel has leaped from the wall…
I was so warmed in spirit in getting my wood that the heat it finally yielded when burnt was coldness in comparison. The first is a warmth which you cannot buy.