7.23.2014

too good to be true
...Thoreau's Journal: 23-July-1860

I see a snake crossing at Hubbard’s Bridge as swiftly as a muskrat could, which, indeed, I at first took it for,—faster than a muskrat would.

I find the ripest blueberries (Vaccinium vacillans) not on the very top nor on the lower slope, but on the brow, or what is called the “pitch” of the hill (Conantum) toward the light. The ripest are of course the largest, and this year very large and hard and bead-like.

Slender early spiranthes noticed.

I read of the Amazon that its current, indeed, is strong, but the wind always blows up the stream. This sounds too good to be true.

7.22.2014

the summer’s vapor bath
...Thoreau's Journal: 22-July-1851

The season of morning fog has arrived. I think it is connected with dog-days. Perhaps it is owing to the greater contrast between the night and day, the nights being nearly as cold, while the days are warmer? Before I rise from my couch, I see the ambrosial fog stretched over the river, draping the trees. It is the summer’s vapor bath. What purity in the color? It is almost musical; it is positively fragrant. How faery-like it has visited our fields. I am struck by its firm outlines, as distinct as a pillow’s edge, about the height of my house. A great crescent over the course of the river from southwest to northeast. Already 5:30 A.M., some parts of the river are bare. It goes off in a body down the river, before this air, and does not rise into the heavens. It retreats, and I do not see how it is dissipated. This slight, thin vapor which is left to curl over the surface of the still, dark water, still as glass, seems not [to] be the same thing,—of a different quality. I hear the cockerels crow through it, and the rich crow of young roosters, that sound indicative of the bravest, rudest health, hoarse without cold, hoarse with rude health. That crow is all-nature-compelling.; famine and pestilence flee before it. These are our fairest days, which are born in fog.

7.21.2014

fresh varnish
...Thoreau's Journal: 21-July-1856

This has been a peculiarly fine afternoon. When I looked about casually, was surprised at the fairness of the landscape. Though warm, it is clear and fresh, and the air imparts to all surfaces a peculiar fine glaucous color, full of light, without mistiness, like the underside of the Salix lucida (?) leaves at present. Not only the undersides of the leaves, but the very afternoon landscape, has become glaucous. Now, when the fashionable world goes to Saratoga, Nahant, and Newport, we frequent our oldest haunts with new love and reverence and sail into new ports with each fresh varnish of the day.

7.20.2014

thunder
...Thoreau's Journal: 20-July-1851

A thunder shower in the night. Thunder near at hand, though louder, is a more trivial and earthly sound than at a distance; likened to sounds of men.

7.19.2014

in the germ
...Thoreau's Journal: 19-July-1851

Here I am thirty-four years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in my instances that I may say I am unborn. There is the instinct for society, but no society. Life is not long enough for one success. Within another thirty-four years that miracle can hardly take place. Methinks my seasons revolve more slowly than those of nature; I am differently timed. I am contented. This rapid revolution of nature, even of nature in me, why should it hurry me? Let a man step to the music which he hears, however measured. Is it important that I should mature as soon as an apple tree? aye, as soon as an oak? May not my life in nature, in proportion as it is supernatural, be only the spring and infantile portion of my spirit’s life? Shall I turn spring to summer? May I not sacrifice a hasty and petty completeness here to entireness there? If my curve is large, why bend it to a smaller circle? My spirit’s unfolding observes not the pace of nature. The society which I was made for is not here. Shall I, then, substitute for the anticipation of that this poor reality? I would [rather] have the unmixed expectation of that than this reality. If life is a waiting, so be it. I will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality. What were any reality which I can substitute? Shall I with pains erect a heaven of blue glass over myself, though when it is done I shall be sure to gaze still on the true ethereal heaven far above, as if the former were not,—that still distant sky o’er-arching that blue expressive eye of heaven? I am enamored of the blue-eyed arch of heaven.

I did not make this demand for a more thorough sympathy. This is not my idiosyncrasy or disease. He that made the demand will answer the demand.

My blood flows as slowly as the waves of my native Musketaquid; yet they reach the ocean sooner, perchance, than those of the Nashua.

Already the goldenrod is budded, but I can make no haste for that.

7.18.2014

knowledge of the morning
...Thoreau's Journal: 18-July-1851

It is a test question affecting the youth of a person,—Have you knowledge of the morning? Do you sympathize with that season of nature? Are you abroad early, brushing the dews aside? If the sun rises on you slumbering, if you do not hear the morning cock-crow, if you do not witness the blushes of Aurora, if you are not acquainted with Venus as the morning star, what relation have you to wisdom and purity? You have then forgotten your Creator in the days of your youth! Your shutters were darkened till noon! You rose with a sick headache! In the morning sing, as do the birds. What of those birds which should slumber on their perches till the sun was a hour high? What kind of fowl would they be and new kinds of bats and owls, hedge sparrows or larks? then took a dish of tea or hot coffee before they began to sing?

7.17.2014

such a swamp
...Thoreau's Journal: 17-July-1852

Beck Stow’s Swamp! What an incredible spot to think of in town or city! When life looks sandy and barren, is reduced to its lowest terms, we have no appetite, and it has no flavor, then let me visit such a swamp as this, deep and impenetrable, where the earth quakes for a rod around you at every step, with its open water where the swallows skim and twitter, its meadow and cotton-grass, its dense patches of dwarf andromeda, now brownish-green, with clumps of blueberry bushes, its spruces and its verdurous border of woods imbowering it on every side. The trees now in the rain look heavy and rich all day, as commonly at twilight, drooping with the weight of wet leaves.