March 11, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I wish so to live ever as to derive my satisfaction and inspirations from the commonest events, every-day phenomena, so that what my senses hourly perceive in my daily walk, the conversations of my neighbors, may inspire me and I may dream of no heaven but that which lies about me.

March 10, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

There is a fine effluence surrounding the wood, as if the sap had begun to stir and you could detect it a mile off. Such is the difference between an object seen through a warm, moist, and soft air and a cold, dry, hard one. Such is the genialness of nature that the trees appear to have put out feelers by which our senses apprehend them more tenderly. I do not know that the woods are ever more beautiful, or affect me more.

I feel it to be a greater success as a lecturer to affect uncultivated natures than to affect the most refined, for all cultivation is necessarily superficial, and its roots may not even be directed toward the centre of the being.

Rivers, too, like the walker, unbutton their icy coats, and we see the dark bosoms of their channels in the midst of the ice. Again, in pools of melted snow, or where the river has risen, I look into clear, placid water, and see the russet grassy bottom in the sun….

As we sit in this wonderful air, many sounds — that of woodchopping, for one — come to our ears agreeably blunted or muffled, even like the drumming of a partridge, not sharp and rending as in winter and recently. If a partridge should drum in winter, probably it would not reverberate so softly through the wood and sound indefinitely far. Our voices, even, sound differently and betray the spring. We speak as in a house, in a warm apartment still, with relaxed muscles and softened voices. The voice, like a woodchuck in his burrow, is met and lapped in and encouraged by all genial and sunny influences. There may be heard now, perhaps, under south hillsides and the south sides of houses, a slight murmur of conversation, as of insects, out of doors.

These earliest spring days are peculiarly pleasant. We shall have no more of them for a year. I am apt to forget that we may have raw and blustering days a month hence. The combination of this delicious air, which you do not want to be warmer or softer, with the presence of ice and snow, you sitting on the bare russet portions, the south hillsides, of the earth, this is the charm of these days. It is the summer beginning to show itself like an old friend in the midst of winter. You ramble from one drier russet patch to another. These are your stages. You have the air and sun of summer, over snow and ice, and in some places even the rustling of dry leaves under your feet, as in Indian-summer days.

March 9, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

These March winds, which make the woods roar and fill the world with life and bustle, appear to wake up the trees out of their winter sleep and excite the sap to flow. I have no doubt they serve some such use, as well as to hasten the  evaporation of the snow and water.

March 7, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

There is no ripeness which is not, so to speak, something ultimate in itself, and not merely a perfected means to a higher end. In order to be ripe it must serve a transcendent use. The ripeness of a leaf, being perfected, leaves the tree at that point and never returns to it.

It has nothing to do with any other fruit which the tree may bear, and only genius can pluck it. The fruit of a tree is neither in the seed nor in the full-grown tree, but it is simply the highest use to which it can be put.

March 5, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The lilac buds cannot have swolen any since the 25th of Feb– on ac. of the cold– On examining–they look as if they had felt the influence of the previous heat a little– There are narrow light green spaces laid bare along the edges of the brown scales–as if they had expanded so much.

March 4, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I find that the ice of Walden has melted or softened so much that I sink an inch or more at every step and hardly any where can I cut out a small cake the water collects so fast in hole. 

But at last in a harder & dryer place I succeeded— It was now 15 1/2 inches thick….

March 2, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-Maying.

There may be a whole month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly any water; and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annual with the distant prospect of spring. 

March 1, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I did well to walk in the forenoon, the fresh and inspiring half of this bright day, for now, at mid-aftemoon, its brightness is dulled, and a fine stratus is spread over the sky.