May 15, 1854

in Thoreau’s Journal:  

P1330623 2

Trees generally are now bursting into leaf.  The aspect of oak and other woods at a distance is somewhat like that of a very thick & reddish or yellowish mist about the evergreens— In other directions the light graceful—& more distinct yellowish green forms of birches are seen—& in swamps the reddish or reddish brown crescents of the red maple tops—now covered with keys— Oak leaves are as big as mouse ear & farmers are busy planting.

May 14, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


The sounds & sights—as birds & flowers heard & seen at those seasons when there are fewest—are most memorable & suggestive of poetic associations.  

May 13, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The shad blossom…a very beautiful delicate flower….with its purplish stipules & delicate drooping white blossoms— — So large & graceful a tree or bush— 


The shad blossom days in the woods.


May 12, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

How rarely I meet with a man who can be free, even in thought! We live according to rule. Some men are bedridden; all, world-ridden.


I take my neighbor, an intellectual man, out into the woods and invite him to take a new and absolute view of things, to empty clean out of his thoughts all institutions of men and start again; but he can’t do it, he sticks to his traditions and his crochets. He thinks that governments, colleges, newspapers, etc., are from everlasting to everlasting.

May 10, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:

The rain is making the grass grow apace– It appears to stand upright–its blades and you can almost see it grow. For some reason I now remember the autumn–the succory & the golden-rod. We remember autumn to best advantage in the spring–the fine aroma of it reaches us then. Are those the young keys of sugar maples that I see?


The Canada? (N Brook’s) plum in bloom & a cherry tree. How closely the flower follows upon if it does not precede the leaf! The leaves are but calyx & escort to the flower. Some beds of clover wave…

May 9, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

This has been almost the first warm day––none yet quite so warm.


Walking to the Cliffs this afternoon––I noticed on Fair Haven Hill a season still-ness as I looked over the distant budding forest & heard the buzzing of a fly–– 

May 8, 1853

in Thoreau’s Journal:

It is wonderful what a variety of flowers may grow within the range of a walk & how long some very conspicuous ones may escape the most diligent walker—If you do not chance to visit their localities the right week or fortnight-when their signs are out. It is a flaming leaf The very leaf has flowered-not the ripe tints of autumn but the rose in the cheek of infancy–a more positive flowering.

May 6, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


Bluets now just begun.— Dewy calls it Venus Pride! Gray says truly “a very delicate little herb” — “producing in spring a profusion of handsome bright blue blossoms fading to white with a yellow eye.”  I should say bluish white.

May 5, 1852


in Thoreau’s Journal:

A really warm day. I perspire in my thick coat….The maple-tops show red with their blossoms against the higher trees….The red maples & elms now covered with full rich color are now on the whole the most common & obvious blossoms.  It is their season, and they are worthy of it…Every part of the world is beautiful today—

May 3, 1857

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Thermometer from 1 to 2 pm at +78º. 

Neighbors come forth to view the expanding buds in their gardens.

May 2, 1859

in Thoreau’s Journal:


I am surprised by the tender yellowish green of the aspen leaf just expanded suddenly, even like a fire seen in the sun, against the dark-brown twigs of the wood, through these leaflets are yet but thinly dispersed. It is very enlivening.

April 28, 1856

in Thoreau’s Journal:

Again, as so many times, I am reminded of the advantage to the poet, and philosopher, and naturalist, and whomsoever, of pursuing from time to time some other business than his chosen one — seeing with the side of the eye. The poet will so get visions which no deliberate abandonment can secure. The philosopher is so forced to recognize principles which long study might not detect. And the naturalist even will stumble upon some new and unexpected flower or animal.


April 27, 1852

in Thoreau’s Journal:


On Conantum Cliffs whose seams dip to the NW at an angle of 50º (?) and run NE and SW I find today for the first time the early saxifrage saxifrage vernalis in blossom—growing high and dry in the narrow seams where there is no soil for it but a little green moss.—following thus early after the bare rock—it is one of the first flowers not only in the spring of the year but in the spring of the world.—


It can take advantage of a perpendicular cliff where the snow cannot lie & fronting the S….This is the place to look for early blossoms of the saxifrage—columbine—& plantain leaved everlasting—the 1st 2 especially—


The crevices of the rock (cliff) make natural hot houses for them—affording dryness warmth & shelter.  It is astonishing how soon & unexpectedly flowers appear.