March 9, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

As I recall it, February began cold, with some dry and fine driving snow, making those shell-shaped drifts behind walls, and some days after were some wild but low drifts on the meadow ice. I walked admiring the winter sky and clouds.

After the first week, methinks, it was much milder, and I noticed that some sounds, like the tinkling of railroad rails, etc., were springlike. Indeed, the rest of the month was earine, river breaking up a part and closing again, and but little snow.

About 8th and 12th, the beauty of the ice on the meadows, partly or slightly rotted, was noticeable, with the curious figures in it, and, in the coolest evenings, the green ice and rosy isles of flat drifts.

About the 9th, noticed the very black water of some open reaches, in a high wind and cold.

About the middle of the month was a moist, lodging snow, and the 18th a fine granular one, making about a foot, ––the last. Then sudden warm weather and rain come and dissolve it all at once, and the ruts, flowing with melted snow, shone in the sun, and the little sleighing was all gone. And from the 25th to 27th the river generally broke up.

March began warm, and I admired the ripples made by the gusts on the dark-blue meadow flood, and the light-tawny color of the earth, and was on the alert for several days to hear the first birds. For a few days past it has been generally colder and rawer, and the ground has been whitened with snow two or three times, but it has all been windy.

You incline to walk now along the south side of hills which will shelter you from the blustering northwest and north winds. The sidewalks are wet in the morning from the frost coming out.

[“earine” is derived from the Greek word for “spring.”]