Thoreau's Journal: 13-Apr-1854

P.M.—Sail to Bittern Cliff

The surface of the water, toward the sun, reflecting the light with different degrees of brilliancy, is very exhilarating to look at. The red maple in a day or two. I begin to see the anthers in some buds. So much more of the scales of the buds is now uncovered that the tops of the swamps at a distance are now reddened. A couple of large ducks, which, because they flew low over the water and appeared black with a little white, I thought not black ducks,—possibly velvet or a merganser. The black ducks rise at once to a considerable height and often circle about to reconnoiter. The golden-brown tassels of the alders are very rich now. The poplar (tremuloides) by Miles’s Swamp has been out—the earliest catkins—maybe two or three days. On the evening of the 5th the body of a man was found in the river between Fair Haven Pond and Lee’s, much wasted. How these events disturb our association and tarnish the landscape! It is a serious injury done to a stream. One or two crowfoots on Lee’s Cliff, fully out, surprise me like a flame bursting from the russet ground. The saxifrage is pretty common, ahead of the crowfoot now, and its peduncles have shot up. The slippery elm is behind the common, which is fully out beside it. It will open apparently in about two days of pleasant weather.


Pinot_Love said...

Please excuse the inappropriateness of the location of this question. I haven't found a way to contact you directly, I'm doing my best.

I have a question about Henry David Thoreau in regards to speeches he's given. Back when I was a freshman in college, a prof had us study what I believe was a commencement speech given by Thoreau to the graduating class of Harvard (year?) in writing class. It focused on the idea of men in this world and country becoming so compartmentalized in their particular crafts, industries, professions that men were becoming a fractured version of what they once were and that we were losing part of our humanity in doing so. I could be inaccurate on more than one account in this regurgitation. Please offer me any assistance you may in identifying this speech and a transcript of it. Thank you, Patrick Beall

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in this as well.