March 15, 1852


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This afternoon I throw off my outside coat. A mild spring day–– I must hie to the great Meadows. The air is full of blue-birds.  The ground almost entirely bare. The villagers are out in the sun––and every man is happy whose work takes him out doors–– I go by sleepy Hollow toward the Great Fields–– I lean over a rail to hear what is in the air liquid with the blue-bird’s warble. My life partakes of infinity. The air is as deep as our natures. Is the drawing in of this vital air attended with no more glorious results than I witness? The air is a velvet cushion against which I press my ear–– I go forth to make new demands on life. I wish to begin this summer well––to do something in it worthy of it & of me–– To transcend my daily routine––& that of my townsmen to have my immortality now––that it be in the quality of my daily life. To pay the greatest price-the-greatest tax of any man in Concord––& enjoy the most!! I will give all I am for my nobility.  I will pay all my days for my success. I pray that the life of this spring & summer may ever lie fair in my memory. May I dare as I have never done.–– May my melody not be wanting to the season….It is reasonable that a man should be something worthier at the end of the year than he was at the beginning….We go out without our coats saunter along the streets look at the aments of the willow beginning to appear & the swelling buds of the maple & the elm.



March 12, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Memorable is the warm light of the spring sun on russet fields in the morning.

A new feature is being added to the landscape—and that is expanses of & reaches of blue water.



March 11, 1854 in Thoreau’s Journal:

On Tuesday, the 7th, I heard the first song-sparrow chirp, and saw it flit silently from alder to alder. This pleasant morning, after three days’ rain and mist, they generally burst forth into sprayey song from the low trees along the river.  The development of their song is gradual, but sure, like the expanding of a flower. This is the first song I have heard.

March 10, 1853


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This is the first really spring day. The sun is brightly reflected from all surfaces, and the north side of the street begins to be a little more passable to foot-travellers. You do not think it necessary to button up your coat….

Something analogous to the thawing of the ice seems to have taken place in the air.  At the end of winter there is a season in which we are daily expecting spring, and finally a day when it arrives.

March 9, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Boiled a handful of rock tripe (Umbilicaria Muhlenbergii) (which Tuckerman says “was the favourite rock tripe in Franklin’s journey”) for more than an hour. It produced a black puff, looking somewhat like boiled tea-leaves, and was insipid, like rice or starch. The dark water in which it was boiled had a bitter taste, and was slightly gelatinous. The puff was not positively disagreeable to the palate.


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 ripness 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 6, 1858


in Thoreau’s Journal:

The river is frozen more solidly than during the past winter, and for the first time for a year I could cross it in most places.  I did not once cross it the past winter, though by choosing a safe place I might have done so without doubt once or twice. But I have had no river walks before.

March 5, 1857


P3020014.jpeg 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 3, 1861


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Hear that there was a flock of geese in the river last night. See and hear song sparrows to-day; probably here for several days.

March 2, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

What produces the peculiar softness of the air yesterday & today—as if it were the air of the south suddenly pillowed amid our wintry hills— We have suddenly a different sky—a dif- atmosphere. It is as if the subtlest possible soft vapour were diffused through the atmosphere. Warm Air has come to us from the S. But charged with moisture—which will yet distill in rain or congeal into snow & hail—

March 1, 1854


in Thoreau’s Journal:

This morning the air is still, and, though clear enough, a yellowish light is widely diffused through the east now, just after sunrise.

February 29, 1852



in Thoreau’s Journal:

From Pine Hill looking westward I see the snow-crust shine in the sun as far as the eye can reach,  —snow which fell yesterday morning. Then before night came the rain, then in the night the freezing northwest wind, and the day where before yesterday half the ground was bare, is this shining snow-crust to-day.


February 28, 1860

in Thoreau’s Journal:

As I go down the Boston Road–I see an Irishman wheeling home from far–a large damp & rotten pine log–for fuel– He evidently sweats at it & pauses to rest many times. He found perhaps that his woodpile was gone before the winter was–& he trusts this to contend with the remaining cold. I see him unload it in his yard before me–& then rest himself. The piles of solid oak wood which I see in other yards do not interest me at all, but this looked like fuel.  — It inspired me to think of it. He will now proceed to split it finely–& then I fear it requires almost as much heat to dry it, as it will give out at last.  

How rarely we are encouraged by the sight of simple actions in the street– We deal with banks & other institutions where the life & humanity are concealed–what there is. I like at least to see the great beams half exposed in the ceiling or the corner–


February 27, 1851


in Thoreau’s Journal:

Walking in the woods, it may be some afternoon, the shadow of the wings of a thought flits across the landscape of my mind, and I am reminded how little eventful are our lives. What have been all these wars and rumors of wars, and modern discoveries and improvements, so called? A mere irritation in the skin. But this shadow which is so soon past, and whose substance is not detected, suggests that there are events of importance whose interval is to us a true historic period. 

February 26, 1841


in Thoreau’s Journal:

In composition I miss the hue of the mind. As if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning and evening—without their colors—or the heavens without their azure.