April 8, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The epigaea is not quite out. 


The earliest peculiarly woodland herbaceous flowers are epigaea, thalictrum, and (by the first of May) Viola pedata.  These grow quite in the woods amid dry leaves, nor do they depend so much on water as the very earliest flowers. I am perhaps more surprised by the growth of the Viola pedata leaves by the side of paths amid the shrub oaks, and half covered with oak leaves, than by any other growth, the situation is so dry and the surrounding bushes so apparently lifeless.

April 7, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

As to which are the earliest flowers, it depends on the character of the season, and ground bare or not, meadows wet or dry, etc., etc., also on the variety of soils and localities within your reach.


April 6, 1853


P1240675.jpegin Thoreau’s Journal:

One thing I may depend on, there has been no idling with the flowers. Nature loses not a moment, takes no vacation. They advance as steadily as a clock. 


April 4, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

All the earth is bright. the very pines glisten–& the water is a bright blue….


Not only are the evergreens brighter–but the pools–as that upland one behind Lees–the ice as well as snow– about their edges being now completely melted–have a peculiarly warm–watery & bright April look–as if ready to be inhabited by frogs.

April 3, 1856


P4190092.jpegin Thoreau’s Journal:

It is surprising how the earth on bare south banks begins to show some greenness in its russet cheeks in this rain and fog—a precious emerald-green tinge—almost like a green mildew, the growth of the night — a green blush suffusing her cheek — heralded by twittering birds. This sight is no less interesting than the corresponding bloom & ripe blush of the fall. How encouraging to perceive again that faint tinge of green, spreading amid the russet on earth’s cheeks! I revive with Nature—her victory is mine.

April 2, 1856


in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is evident that it depends on the character of the season whether this flower or that is the most forward; whether there is more or less snow or cold or rain, etc.

March 31, 1852

 in Thoreau’s Journal:  

Intended to get up early this morning and commence a series of spring walks, but clouds and drowsiness prevented…How can one help being an early riser and walker in that season when the birds begin to twitter and sing in the morning?


March 29, 1855


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This which is a chilling wind to my fellow is decidedly refreshing to me…I feel an impulse also already to jump into the half melted pond.

March 28, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:

We know too well what shall have for our Saturday’s dinner—but each days feast in Nature’s year is a surprise to us & adapted to our appetite & spirits—


She has arranged such an order of feasts as never tires–  Her motive is not economy but satisfaction.

March 27, 1842


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The eye must be firmly anchored to this earth which beholds birches and pines waving in the breeze in a certain light—a serene rippling light.

March 26, 1842

in Thoreau’s Journal:

I thank God that the cheapness which appears in time and the world—the trivialness of the whole scheme of things—is in my own cheap and trivial moment. 

I am time and the world. 

I assert no independence.

In me are summer and winter—village life and commercial routine—Pestilence and famine and refreshing breezes—joy and sadness—life and death….

He who does not borrow trouble does not lend it…

I wish to communicate those parts of my life which I would gladly live again…

It is hard to be a good citizen of the world in any great sense—but if we do render no interest or increase to mankind out of that talent God gave us—we can at least preserve the principal unimpaired.


March 25, 1855

in Thoreau’s Journal:

P. m. to Ministerial Lot–

Still cold & blustering– The ditches where I have seen salamanders last year before this are still frozen up. Was it not a sucker I saw dart along the brook beyond Jennie’s? I see where the squirrels have fed extensively on the acorns now exposed in the melting of the snow– The ground is strewn with the freshly torn shells & nibbled meat in some places.


March 23, 1856


in Thoreau’s Journal:

When I think what were the various sounds and notes, the migrations and works, and changes of fur and plumage which ushered in the spring and marked the other seasons of the year, I am reminded that this my life in nature, this particular round of natural phenomena which I call a year, is lamentably incomplete.  I listen to [a] concert in which so many parts are wanting. The whole civilized country is to some extent turned into a city, and I am that citizen whom I pity. Many of those animal migrations and other phenomena by which the Indians marked the season are no longer to be observed.  I seek acquaintance with Nature, ––to know her moods and manners….I am reassured and reminded that I am the heir of eternal inheritances which are inalienable, when I feel the warmth reflected from the sunny bank, and see the yellow sand and the reddish soil, and hear some dried leaves rustle and the trickling of melted snow in some sluiceway. The eternity which I detect in Nature I predicate of myself also. How many springs I have had this same experience! I am encouraged for I recognize this stead persistency and recovery of Nature as a quality of myself.

March 22, 1852



in Thoreau’s Journal:

As soon as those spring morning arrive in which the birds sing I am sure to be an early riser—  I am waked by my genius— I wake to inaudible melodies, and am surprised to find myself awaiting the dawn—in so serene and joyful & expectant a mood. I have an appointment with spring.

March 21, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is a genial and reassuring day; the mere warmth of the west wind amounts almost to balminess. The softness of the air mollifies our own dry and congealed substance. I sit down by a wall to see if I can muse again.  We become, as it were, pliant and ductile again to strange but memorable influences; we are led a little way by our genius. We are affected like the earth, and yield to the elemental tenderness. Winter breaks up within us. The frost is coming out of me, and I am heaved like the road. Accumulated masses of ice and snow dissolve, and thoughts like a freshet, pour down unwonted channels.  A strain of music comes to solace the traveler over earth’s downs and dignify his chagrins. The petty men whom he meets are shadows of grander to come. Roads lead else-wither than to Carlisle and Sudbury. The earth is uninhabited, but fair to inhabit, like the old  Carlisle road. Is, then, the road so rough that it should be neglected?  Not only narrow, but rough, is the way that leads to life everlasting. Our experience does not wear upon us. It is seen to be fabulous or symbolical, and the future is worth expecting.


Encouraged, I set out once more to climb the mountain of the earth, for my steps are symbolical.

March 20, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

We too are out obeying the same law with all nature– Not less important are the observers of the birds than the birds themselves.