Thoreau's Journal: 22-Dec-1850
In winter I can explore the swamps and ponds. It is a dark-aired winter day, yet I see the summer plants still peering above the snow. There are but few tracks in all this snow. It is the Yellow Knife River or the Saskatchewan. The large leafy lichens on the white pines, especially on the outside of the wood, look almost a golden yellow in the light reflected from the snow, while deeper in the wood they are ash-colored. In the swamps the dry, yellowish-colored fruit of the poison dogwood hangs like jewelry on long, drooping stems. It is pleasant to meet it, it has so much character relatively to man. Here is a stump on which a squirrel has sat and stripped the pine cones of a neighboring tree. Their cores and scales lie all around. He knew that they contained an almond before the naturalist did. He has long been a close observer of Nature; opens her caskets. I see more tracks in the swamps than elsewhere.