December 23, 1850

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Here is an old-fashioned snow-storm– There is not much passing on railroads. The engineer says it is 3 feet deep above. Walden is frozen, one third of it, though I thought it was all frozen as I stood on the shore on one side only. There is no track on the Walden road. A traveller might cross it in the woods and not be sure it was a road. As I pass the farmers’ houses I observe the cop of the sled propped up with a stick to prevent its freezing into the snow. The needles of the pines are drooping like cockerels’ feathers after a rain, and frozen together by the sleety snow. The pitch pines now bear their snowy fruit.

I can discern a faint foot or sled path sooner when the ground is covered with snow than when it is bare. The depression caused by the feet or the wheels is more obvious; perhaps the light and shade betray it, but I think it is mainly because the grass and weeds rise above it on each side and leave it blank, and a blank space of snow contrasts more strongly with the woods or grass than bare or beaten ground.

Even the surface of the snow is wont to be in waves like billows of the ocean.