July 11, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Mizzling weather. Were visited by three men from Glen House, who thought it was well named “Tucker’s Ravine,” because it tuckered a man out to get to it!

July 9, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The red-lily with its torrid color & sun freckled spots––dispensing too with the outer garment of a calyx––its petals so open & wide apart that you can see through it in every direction tells of hot weather–– It is a handsome bell shape––so upright & the flower prevails over every other part. It belongs not to spring. 

July 8, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Under the Salix nigra var. falcata, [black willow] near that handsomest one, which now is full of scythe-shaped leaves, the larger six inches long by seven eighths wide, with remarkably broad lunar leafy appendages or stipules at their base, I found a remarkable moth lying flat on the still water as if asleep (they appear to sleep during the day), as large as the smaller birds. Five and a half inches in alar extent and about three inches long, something like the smaller figure in one position of the wings (with a remarkably narrow lunar-cut tail), of a sea-green color, with four conspicuous spots whitish within, then a red line, then yellowish border below or toward the tail, but brown, brown orange, and black above, toward head; a very robust body, covered with a kind of downy plumage, an inch and a quarter long by five eighths thick.

The sight affected me as tropical, and I suppose it is the northern verge of some species. It suggests into what productions Nature would run if all the year were a July. By night it is active, for, though I thought it dying at first, it made a great noise in its prison, a cigar-box, at night. When the day returns, it apparently drops wherever it may be, even into the water, and dozes till evening again. Is it called the emperor moth? [It’s a luna moth]

July 7, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The first really foggy morning yet before I rise I hear the song of birds from out it—like the bursting of its bubbles with music—the bead on liquids just uncorked. Their song gilds thus the frostwork of the morning— As if the fog were a great sweet froth on the surface of land and water—whose fixed air escaped—whose bubbles burst with music. The sound of its evaporation—the fixed air of the morning just brought from the cellars of the night escaping.— The morning twittering of birds in perfect harmony with it. I came near awaking this morning. I am older than last year   the mornings are further between— The days are fewer— Any excess—to have drunk too much water even, the day before is fatal to the morning’s clarity—but in health the sound of a cow bell is celestial music. O might I always wake to thought & poetry—regenerated! Can it be called a morning—if our senses are not clarified so that we perceive more clearly—if we do not rise with elastic vigor? How wholesome these fogs which some fear—they are cool medicated vapor baths—mingled by nature which bring to our senses all the medical properties of the meadows. The touchstones of health— Sleep with all your windows open and let the mist embrace you.

July 6, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

[Mt and Lake Chocorua on the way to Conway, NH]

Keep on through North Tamworth, and breakfast by shore of one of the Ossipee Lakes. Chocorua north-northwest. Hear and see loons and see a peetweet’s egg washed up. A shallow-shored pond, too shallow for fishing, with a few breams seen near shore; some pontederia and targetweed in it.


Travelling thus toward the White Mountains, the mountains fairly begin with Red Hill and Ossipee Mountain, but the White Mountain scenery proper on the high hillside road in Madison before entering Conway, where you see Chocorua on the left, Mote Mountain ahead, Doublehead, and some of the White Mountains proper beyond, i. e. a sharp peak.


We fished in vain in a small clear pond by the roadside in Madison.


Chocorua is as interesting a peak as any to remember. You may be jogging along steadily for a day before you get round it and leave it behind, first seeing it on the north, then northwest, then west, and at last southwesterly, ever stern, rugged and inaccessible, and omnipresent. It was seen from Gilmanton to Conway, and from Moultonboro was the ruling feature.


July 5, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The reddish blossoms of the umbelled wintergreen (Pyrola umbellata) are now in perfection and are exceedingly beautiful.  Also the white sweet-scented flowers of the P. rotundifolia

July 4, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The fresher breeze which accompanies the dawn rustles the oaks and birches, and the earth respires calmly with the creaking of crickets. Some hazel leaf stirs gently, as if anxious not to awake the day too abruptly, while the time is hastening to the distinct line between darkness and light.

July 3, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The Mitchella repens, so abundant now in the north-west part of Hubbard’s Grove, emits a strong astringent cherry-like scent as I walk over it, now that it is so abundantly in bloom, which is agreeable to me, —spotting the ground with its downy-looking white flowers.

July 2, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

An abundance of red lilies in an upland dry meadow….low from one to two feet high–up-right flowered––more or less dark shade of red-freckled & sometimes wrinkle edged––must have been some days. 

This has come with the intense summer heats– a torrid July heat like a red sunset threatening torrid heat. (Do we not always have a dry time just before the huckleberries turn?-) I think this meadow was burnt over about a year ago. Did that make the red lily grow? The spring now seems far behind–I do not remember the interval.

July 1, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The true poem is not that which the public read. There is always a poem not printed on paper, coincident with the production of this, which is stereotyped in the poet’s life, is what he has become through his work…Let not the artist expect that his true work will stand in any prince’s gallery.