April 30, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The Viburnum nudum around the edge of the swamp, on the northern edge of the warm bays in sunny and sheltered places, has just expanded, say two days, the two diverging leafets being an inch long nearly, — pretty yellowish-brown leafets in the sun, the most noticeable leafiness here now, just spotting and enlivening the dead, dark, bare twigs, under the red blossoms of the maples.

It is a day for many small fuzzy gnats and other small insects. Insects swarm about the expanding buds.

The viburnum buds are so large and long, like a spear-head, that they are conspicuous the moment their two leafets diverge and they are lit up by the sun. They unfold their wings like insects and arriving warblers. These, too, mark the season well. You see them a few rods off in the sun, through the stems of the alders and maples.

April 28, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I approach a great nature with infinite expectation and uncertainty, not knowing what I may meet. It lies as broad and unexplored before me as a scraggy hillside or pasture. I may hear a fox bark, or a partridge drum, or some bird new to these localities may fly up. It lies out there as old, and yet as new. The aspect of the woods varies every day, what with their growth and the changes of the seasons and the influence of the elements, so that the eye of the forester never twice rests upon the same prospect.

Much more does a character show newly and variedly, if directly seen.

April 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is astonishing how soon and unexpectedly flowers appear, when the fields are scarcely tinged with green.

Yesterday, for instance, you observed only the radical leaves of some plants; to-day you pluck a flower.

April 25, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The may flower is well budded & ready to blossom but not yet out—nor the Andromeda—nor saxifrage—nor violet that I can find. I am surprised to find the cowslip in full bloom at 2nd Div meadow.  numerous flowers. Growing in the water is not comparatively so backward this year perhaps. Its heart or kidney shaped crenate green leaves which had not freshly grown when I was here before have suddenly pushed up. The snows soon melted on this meadow. The horse tail too is ready to flower. And what is the low regular red-leaved & red rooted plant in the meadow with the cowslip? Yet we walk over snow & ice a long distance in the road here.

April 24, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The larch will ap. blossom in 1 or 2 days at least both its low & broad purple coned male flowers & its purple tippled female cones––Its little leaf-bundles & beginning to burst.

April 23, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The first April showers are even fuller of promise and a certain moist serenity than the sunny days. How thickly the green blades are starting up amid the russet! The tinge of green is gradually increasing in the face of the russet earth.

April 22, 1859

in Thorau’s Journal:

As I planted there, wandering thoughts visited me, which I have now forgotten.

My senses were busily suggesting them, though I was unconscious of their origin. E. g., I first consciously found myself entertaining the thought of a carriage on the road, and directly after I was aware that I heard it. No doubt I had heard it before, or rather my ears had, but I was quite unconscious of it, — it was not a fact of my then state of existence; yet such was the force of habit, it affected my thoughts nevertheless, so double, if not treble, even, are we. Sometimes the senses bring us information quicker than we can receive it. Perhaps these thoughts which run in ruts by themselves while we are engaged in some routine may be called automatic. I distinctly entertained the idea of a carriage, without the slightest suspicion how it had originated or been suggested to my mind. I have no doubt at all that my ears had heard it, but my mind, just then preoccupied, had refused to attend to it. This suggests that most, if not all, indeed, of our ideas may be due to some sort of sensuous impression of which we may or may not be conscious.

April 20, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. To my neighbors who have risen in mist and rain I tell of a clear sunrise and the singing of birds as some traditionary mythus.

I look back to those fresh but now remote hours as to the old dawn of time, when a solid and blooming health reigned and every deed was simple and heroic.

April 19, 1840

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The infinite bustle of Nature of a summer’s noon, or her infinite silence of a summer’s night, gives utterance to no dogma.

They do not say to us even with a seer’s assurance, that this or that law is immutable and so ever and only can the universe exist. But they are the indifferent occasion for all things and the annulment of all laws.

April 18, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

For the first time I perceive this spring that the year is a circle— I see distinctly the spring arc thus far. It is drawn with a firm line…

Why should just these sights & sounds accompany our life? Why should I hear the chattering of blackbirds—why smell the skunk each year? I would fain explore the mysterious relation between myself & these things. I would at least know what these things unavoidably are—make a chart of our life & when—know why just this circle of creatures completes the world. Can I not by expectation affect the revolutions of nature—make a day to bring forth something new?

April 17, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Stood by the riverside early this morning. The water has been rising during the night. The sun has been shining on it half an hour. It is quite placid. The village smokes are seen against the long hill. And now I see the river also is awakening, a slight ripple beginning to appear on its surface. It wakens like the village.

It proves a beautiful day, and I see that glimmering or motion in the air just above the fields, which we associate with heat.

April 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A driving snow storm in the night & still raging––5 or 6 inches deep on a level at 7 Am. All birds are turned into snow birds. Trees and houses have put on the aspect of winter.  The travelers carriage wheels, the farmer’s wagon are converted into white disks of snow through which the spokes hardly appear. But it is good now to stay in the house & read & write. We do not now go wandering all abroad & dissipated––but the imprisoning storm condenses our thoughts–– My life is enriched–  I love to hear the wind howl. I have a fancy for sitting with my book or paper––in some mean & apparently unfavorable place––in the kitchen for instance where the work is going on––rather a little cold than comfortable–– –– My thoughts are of more worth in such places than they would be in a well-furnished & warmed studio.

April 12, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The road through the pitch pine woods beyond J. Hosmer’s is very pleasant to me, curving under the pines close abutting on it, yellow in the sun and low-pines, without a fence,—the sandy road, with the branched, with younger pines filling up all to the ground.

I love to see a sandy road like this curving through a pitch pine wood where the trees closely border it without fences, a great cart-path merely. That is a pleasant part of the North River, under the black birches. 

April 11, 1841

in Thoreau’s Journal:

A greater baldness my life seeks, as the crest of some bare hill, which towns and cities do not afford— I want a directer relation with the sun.