July 31, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

[along the East Branch in Maine]

I also saw here, or soon after, the red cohosh berries, ripe (for the first time in my life).

July 30, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

3:30 P.M. ––To Flint’s Pond.

How long is it since I heard a veery? Do they go or become silent when the goldfinch heralds the autumn? Do not all flowers that blossom after mid-July remind us of the fall?

After midsummer we have a belated feeling as if we had all been idlers––& are forward to see in each sight––& hear in each sound some presage of fall.–– just as in mid-age man anticipates the end of life. 

July 29, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal

I am interested in an indistinct prospect, a distant view, a mere suggestion often, revealing an almost wholly new world to me.  I rejoice to get, and am apt to present, a new view.

July 28, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Methinks the season culminated about the middle of this month––That the year was of indefinite promise before––   ––but that after the 1st intense heats we postponed the fulfillment of many of our hopes for this year––& having as it were attained the ridge of the summer––commenced to descend the long slope toward winter––the afternoon & down hill of the year––  Last evening it was much cooler––& I heard a decided fall sound of crickets––

July 27, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The grandeur of these stupendous masses of clouds, tossed into such irregular greatness across the sky, seems thrown away on the meanness of my employment. The drapery seems altogether too rich for such poor acting.

July 26, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

By my intimacy with nature I find myself withdrawn from man. My interest in the sun and the moon, in the morning and the evening, compels me to solitude.

July 25, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The haymakers getting in the hay from Hubbard’s meadow tell me the cock says we are going to have a long spell of dry weather or else very wet. ” Well, there ‘s some difference between them,” I answer; “how do you know it?” “I just heard a cock crow at noon, and that ‘s a sure sign it will either be very dry or very wet.”

July 24, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

For a week or more I have perceived that the evenings were considerably longer and of some account to sit down & write in. Ate an Early-Harvest apple of my own raising yesterday––not quite ripe. The scent of some very early ones which I have passed in my walks, imparting some ripeness to the year, has excited me some what. It affects me like a performance a poem a thing done––and all the year is not a mere promise of Nature’s. How far behind the spring seems now––farther off perhaps than ever––for this heat & dryness is most opposed to spring. Where I sought for flowers in April & May I do not think to go now––it is either drought & barrenness or fall there now.

The reign of moisture is long since over  ––  For a long time the year feels the influence of the snows of winter & the long rains of spring––  But now how changed!  It is like another & a fabulous age to look back on. When earth’s veins were full of moisture & violets burst out on every hill-side. Spring is the reign of water–– Summer of heat & dryness. Winter of cold.  Whole families of plants that lately flourished have disappeared. Now the phenomena are tropical. Let our summer last long enough & our land would wear the aspect of the tropics.–– The luxuriant foliage & growth of all kinds shades the earth & is converting every copse into a jungle. Vegetation is rampant ––  There is not such rapid growth it is true, but it slumbers like a serpent that has swallowed its prey. Summer is one long drought. Rain is the exception –– All the signs of it fail for it is dry weather–– Though it may seem so the current year is not peculiar in this respect. It is a slight labor to keep account of all the showers the rainy days of of a summer–– You may keep it on your thumbnail.

July 23, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The mind is subject to moods, as the shadows of the clouds that pass over the earth. Pay not too much heed to them. Let not the traveller stop for them. They consist with the fairest weather. By the mood of my mind, I suddenly felt dissuaded from continuing my walk, but I observed at the same instant that the shadow of a cloud was passing over [the] spot on which I stood, though it was of small extent, which, if it had no connection with my mood, at any rate suggested how transient and little to be regarded that mood was. I kept on, and in a moment the sun shone on my walk within and without.

July 20, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A muttering thunder-cloud in northwest gradually rising and with its advanced guard hiding in the sun and now and then darting forked lightning. The wind rising ominously also drives me home again.

At length down it comes upon the thirsty herbage, beating down the leaves with grateful, tender violence and slightly cooling the air; but all the thunder and lightning was in its van. How soon it swept over and we saw the flash in the southeast! Corn in blossom these days.

July 18, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We are gliding swiftly up the river by Lee’s bend. The surface of the water is the place to see the Pontederia from for now the spikes of flowers are all brought into a dense line––a heavy line of blue a foot or more in width––on both sides of the river. The pontederias are now in their prime––there being no withered heads, they are very freshly blue. In the sun when you are looking west they are of a violaceous blue….In many parts of the river the pickerel weed is several rods wide––its blueness akin to the misty blue air which paints the sky….The border of pontederia is rarely of equal depth on both sides at once––but it keeps that side in the meander where the sediment is deposited––the shortest course which will follow the shore…..This is the longest line of blue that nature paints with flowers in our fields––though the lupines may have been more densely blue within a small compass––  Thus by a natural law a river instead of flowing straight through its meadows––meanders––from side to side––& fertilizes this side or that & adorns its banks with flowers.

July 17, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Evening by river to Ed. Hosmer’s. Hear at distance the hum of bees from the bass with its drooping flowers at the Island, a few minutes only before sunset.

It sounds like the rumbling of a distant train of cars. Returning after ten, by moonlight, see the bullfrogs lying at full length on the pads where they trump.

July 16, 1850

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I find the actual to be far less real to me than the imagined. Why this singular prominence and importance is given to the former, I do not know. In proportion as that which possesses my thoughts is removed from the actual, it impresses me. I have never met with anything so truly visionary and accidental as some actual events. They have affected me less than my dreams.

July 15, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We seem to be passing or to have passed a dividing line between spring & autumn––& begin to descend the long slope toward winter…

The stems of various asters & golden-rods which ere long will reign along the way begin to be conspicuous.

July 14, 1851

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Passing over the Great Fields (where I have been surveying a road) this forenoon, where were some early turnips, the county commissioners plucked and pared them with their knives and ate them. I, too, tried hard to chew a mouthful of raw turnip and realize the life of cows and oxen, for it might be a useful habit in extremities.

These things occur as the seasons revolve. These are things which travellers will do.  How many men have tasted a raw turnip! How few have eaten a whole one! Some bovine appetites, which find some fodder in every field. For like reasons we sometimes eat sorrel and say we love it, that we may return the hospitality of Nature by exhibiting a good appetite.

July 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

One who walks the woods and hills daily, expecting to see the first berry that turns, will be surprised at last to find them ripe and thick before he is aware of it, ripened, he cannot tell how long before, in some more favorable situation. It is impossible to say what day—almost what week––the huckleberries begin to be ripe, unless you are acquainted with, and daily visit, every huckleberry bush in the town, at least every place where they grow.

July 12, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Red lilies in prime, single upright fiery flowers, their throats how splendidly and variously spotted, hardly two of quite the same hue and not two spotted alike––leopard-spotted––averaging a foot or more in height amide the huckleberry and lamb kill, etc, in the moist, meadowy pasture.