October 9, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal

The witch hazel here is in full blossom on this magical hill-side—while its broad yellow leaves are falling—some bushes are completely bare of leaves, and leather-colored they strew the ground. It is an extremely interesting plant—October & November’s child—and yet reminds me of the very earliest spring—  Its blossoms smell like the spring—like the willow catkins—by their color as well as fragrance they belong to the saffron dawn of the year.— Suggesting amid all these signs of Autumn—falling leaves & frost—that the life of nature—by which she eternally flourishes, is untouched.

It stands here in the shadow on the side of the hill while the sunlight from over the top of the hill lights up its topmost sprays & yellow blossoms. Its spray so jointed and angular is not to be mistaken for any other. I lie on my back with joy under its boughs. While its leaves fall—its blossoms spring. The autumn then is indeed a spring. All the year is a spring. I see two blackbirds high over head going south, but I am going north in my thoughts with these hazel blossoms.