December 1, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We may infer that every withered culm of grass or sedge—or weed that still stands in the fields—answers some purpose by standing— Those trees & shrubs which retain their withered leaves through the winter—shrub oaks—& young white red & black oaks—the lower branches of larger trees of the last mentioned species—horn-beam &c & young hickories seem to form an intermediate class between deciduous & evergreen trees— They may almost be called the ever-reds.

Their leaves which are falling all winter long serve as a shelter to rabbits & partridges & other winter quadrupeds & birds—even the little chickadees love to skulk amid them & peep out from behind them. I hear their faint silvery lisping notes‚ like tinkling glass—& occasionally a sprightly day-day-day—as they inquisitively hop nearer & nearer to me. They are our most honest & innocent little bird—drawing yet nearer to us as the winter advances—& deserve best of any of the walker.