November 29, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Again I am struck by the singularly wholesome colors of the withered oak leaves, especially the shrub oak, so thick and firm and unworn, without speck, clear reddish-brown, sometimes paler or yellowish-brown, the whitish under the sides contrasting with the upper in a very cheerful manner, as if the tree or shrub rejoiced at the advent of winter.

It exhibits the fashionable colors of the winter on the two sides of its leaves. It sets the fashions; colors good for bare ground or for snow, grateful to the eyes of rabbits and partridges. This is the extent of its gaudiness, red-brown and misty-white, and yet it is gay. The colors of the brightest flowers are not more agreeable to my eye. Then there is the rich dark brown of the black oak, large and somewhat curled leaf on sprouts, with its light, almost yellowish-brown underside. Then the salmonish hue of white-oak leaves, with under sides less distinctly lighter. Many, however, have faded already.