November 7, 1858

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It cleared up this forenoon. I leave my boat opposite the Hemlocks. I see the cold sunlight from some glade between the clouds falling on distant oak woods, now nearly bare, and as I glance up the hill between them seeing the bare but bright hillside beyond, I think, Now we are left to the hemlocks and pines with their silvery light, to the bare trees and withered grass. The very rocks and stones in the rocky roads (that beyond Farmer’s) look white in the clear November light, especially after the rain. We are left to the chickadee’s familiar notes, and the jay for trumpeter. What struck me was a certain emptiness beyond, between the hemlocks and the hill, in the cool, washed air, as if I appreciated even here the absence of insects from it. It suggested agreeably to me a mere space in which to walk briskly. The fields are bleak, and they are, as it were, vacated. The very earth is like a house shut up for the winter, and I go knocking about it in vain.

But just then I heard a chickadee on a hemlock, and was inexpressibly cheered to find that an old acquaintance was yet stirring about the premises, and was, I was assured, to be there all winter. All that is evergreen in me revived at once.