Thoreau's Journal: 10-Sep-1860

Leaving Lowell at 7 A.M. in the cars, I observed and admired the dew on a fine grass in the meadows, which was almost as white and silvery as frost when the rays of the newly risen sun fell on it. Some of it was probably the frost of the morning melted. I saw that this phenomenon was confined to one species of grass, which grew in narrow curving lines and small patches along the edges of the meadows or lowest ground,—a grass with very fine stems and branches, which held the dew; in short, that it was what I had falsely called Eragrostic capillaries, but which is probably the Sporobolus serotinus, almost the only, if not the only, grass there in its prime. And thus the plant has its day. Owing to the number of its very fine branches, now in their prime, it holds the dew like a cobweb,—a clear drop at the end and lesser drops or beads all along the fine branches and stems. It grows on the higher parts of the meadow, where other herbage is thin, and is the less apt to be cut; and, seen toward the sun not long after sunrise, it is very conspicuous and bright a quarter of a mile off, like frost work. Call it dew-grass. I find its hyaline seed.

Almost every plant, however humble, has thus its day, and sooner or later becomes the characteristic feature of some part of the landscape or other.

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