February 8, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

My Journal is that of me which would else spill over and run to waste.— gleanings from the field which in action I reap. I must not live for it, but in it for the gods— They are my correspondent to whom daily I send off this sheet post-paid. I am clerk in their counting room and at evening transfer the account from day-book to ledger.

It is as a leaf which hangs over my head in the path — I bend the twig and write my prayers on it then letting it go the bough springs up and shows the scrawl to heaven. As if it were not kept shut in my desk—but were as public a leaf as any in nature—it is papyrus by the river side—it is vellum in the pastures—it is parchment on the hills— I find it every where as free as the leaves which troop along the lanes in autumn— The crow—the goose—the eagle—carry my quill—and the wind blows the leaves—as far as I go— Or if my imagination does not soar, but gropes in slime and mud—then I write with a reed.

It is always a chance scrawl, and commemorates some accident—as great as earthquake or eclipse. Like the sere leaves in yonder vase these have been gathered far and wide—upland and lowland.— forest and field have been ransacked.