January 8, 1842

in Thoreau’s Journal:

When, as now, in January a south wind melts the snow, and the bare ground appears, covered with sere grass and occasionally wilted green leaves which seem in doubt whether to let go their greenness quite or absorb new juices against the coming year, — in such a season a perfume seems to exhale from the earth itself and the south wind melts my integuments also. Then is she my mother earth.

I derive a real vigor from the scent of the gale wafted over the naked ground, as from strong meats, and realize again how man is the pensioner of Nature. We are always conciliated and cheered when we are fed by an influence, and our needs are felt to be part of the domestic economy of Nature.