May 31, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Some incidents in my life have seemed far more allegorical than actual; they were so significant that they plainly served no other use. That is, I have been more impressed by their allegorical significance and fitness; they have been like myths or passages in a myth, rather than mere incidents or history which have to wait to become significant. Quite in harmony with my subjective philosophy. This, for instance: that, when I thought I knew the flowers so well, the beautiful purple azalea or pinxter-flower should be shown to me by the hunter who found it. Such facts are quite above the level of the actual. They are all just such events as my imagination prepares me for, no matter how incredible. Perfectly in keeping with my life and characteristic. Ever and anon something will occur which my philosophy has not dreamed of. The limits of the actual are set some thoughts further off. That which had seemed a rigid wall of vast thickness unexpectedly proves a thin and undulating drapery. The boundaries of the actual are no more fixed and rigid than the elasticity of our imaginations. The fact that a rare and beautiful flower which we never saw, perhaps never heard of, for which therefore there was no place in our thoughts, may at length be found in our immediate neighborhood, is very suggestive.

May 29, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is evident that the virtues of plants are almost completely unknown to us, and we esteem the few with which we are better acquainted unreasonably above the many which are comparatively unknown to us.

May 28, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It would be worth the while to ask ourselves weekly, Is our life innocent enough? Do we live inhumanely, toward man or beast in thought or act?  To be serene and successful we must be at one with the universe. The least conscious and needless injury inflicted on any creature is to its extent a suicide.  What peace –– or life –– can a murderer have? 

May 27, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Still a very strong wind from northerly, and hazy and rather cool for season. The fields now begin to wear the aspect of June, their grass just beginning to wave; the light-colored withered grass seen between the blades, foliage thickening and casting darker shadows over the meadows, elm-tree-tops thick in distance, deciduous trees rapidly investing evergreens, haze with the strong wind. How important the dark evergreens now seen through the haze in the distance and contrasting with the gauze-like, as yet thin-clad deciduous trees! 

May 26, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

At the same season with this haze of buds comes also the kindred haziness of the air….

A ladies slipper at Cliffs.

May 25, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How rapidly the young twigs shoot — the herbs, trees, shrubs no sooner leaf out than they shoot forward surprisingly, as if they had acquired a head by being repressed so long. They do not grow nearly so rapidly at any other season. Many do most of their growing for the year in a week or two at this season. They shoot — they spring — and the rest of the year they harden and mature, and perhaps have a second spring in the latter part of summer or in the fall.

May 24, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A considerable fog, but already rising and retreating to the river. There are dewy cobwebs on the grass.  The morning came in and awakened me early, ––for I slept with a window open….

May 23, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:
But our wild apple is wild perchance like myself, who belong not to the aboriginal race here, but have strayed into the woods from the cultivated stock, — where the birds, where winged thoughts or agents, have planted or are planting me. Even these at length furnish hardy stocks for the orchard.

May 21, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The earlier apple trees are in bloom––& resound with the hum of bees of all sizes & other insects. To sit under the 1st apple tree in blossom is to take another step into summer. The apple blossoms are so abundant & full––white tinged with red––a rich-scented pomona fragrance––telling of heaps of apples in the autumn––perfectly innocent wholesome & delicious––

May 20, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Perchance the beginning of summer may be dated from the fully formed leaves––when dense shade? begins––I will see.

May 18, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Lady’s-slipper almost fully blossomed…. The shrub oaks are now blossoming. The scarlet tanagers are come. The oak leaves of all colors are just expanding, and are more beautiful than most flowers. The hickory buds are almost leaves. The landscape has a new life and light infused into it. The deciduous trees are springing, to countenance the pines, which are evergreen. It seems to take but one summer day to fetch the summer in. The turning-point between winter and summer is reached.  The birds are in full blast. There is a peculiar freshness about the landscape; you scent the fragrance of new leaves, of hickory and sassafras, etc. And to the eye the forest presents the tenderst green. The blooming of the apple trees is becoming general.

May 17, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

In the case of the early aspen you could almost see the leaves expand and acquire a darker green––this to be said the 12th or 13th or 14th––under the influence of the sun and genial atmosphere. Now they are only as big as a nine pence, to-morrow or sooner they are as big as a pistareen, and the next day they are as big as a dollar. This from its far greater prevalence than the aspens, balm-of-Gilead, white maples, etc., is the first to give the woodlands anywhere generally a (fresh) green aspect. It is the first to clothe large tracts of deciduous woodlands with green, and perchance it marks an epoch in the season, the transition decidedly and generally from bare twigs to leaves. When the birches have put on their green sacks, then a new season has come. The light reflected from their tender yellowish green is like sunlight. 

May 16, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The inconspicuous white blossom of the gold-thread is detected amid them, but you are more struck by the bright-golden thread of its root when you pull it up. 

May 15, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Trees generally are now bursting into leaf.  The aspect of oak and other woods at a distance is somewhat like that of a very thick & reddish or yellowish mist about the evergreens— In other directions the light graceful—& more distinct yellowish green forms of birches are seen—& in swamps the reddish or reddish brown crescents of the red maple tops—now covered with keys— Oak leaves are as big as mouse ear & farmers are busy planting.

May 14, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal

Most men can be easily transplanted from here there, for they have so little root — no tap-root — or their roots penetrate so little way, that you can thrust a shovel quite under them and take them up, roots and all.

May 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The shad blossom…a very beautiful delicate flower….with its purplish stipules & delicate drooping white blossoms— — So large & graceful a tree or bush— 

The shad blossom days in the woods.

May 12, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The V. cucullata are large and conspicuous on Barrett’s side-hill. The ovata blue the ground in the Boulder Field. These and the pedata are all more or less lilac-colored, and it produces a pleasing bewilderment to pass from clump to clump, and one species to another, and say which is the most lilac. Putting one cluster beside another more lilac, the first no longer seems lilac at all. Has not violet then always some lilac in it?