8:30 A.M.—Start for Monadnock.
Between Shirley Village and Lunenburg, I notice, in a meadow on the right hand, close to the railroad, the Kalmia glauca in bloom, as we are whirled past. The conductor says that he has it growing in his garden. Blake joins me at Fitchburg. Between Fitchburg and Troy saw an abundance of wild cherry, now apparently in prime, in full bloom, especially in burnt lands and on hillsides, a small but cheerful lively white bloom.
Arrived at Troy Station at 11.5 and shouldered our knapsacks, steering northeast to the mountain, some four miles off,—its top. It is a pleasant hilly road, leading past farmhouses, where you already begin to snuff the mountain, or at least up-country, air. By the roadside I plucked, now apparently in prime, the Ribes Cynosbati, rather downy leaved, and, near by, the same with smooth berries. I noticed, too, the Salix lucida, by the roadside there on high land; the S. rostrata, etc., were common.
Almost without interruption we had the mountain in sight before us,—its sublime gray mass—that antique, brownish-gray, Ararat color. Probably these crests of the earth are for the most part of one color in all lands, that gray color of antiquity, which nature loves; color of unpainted wood, weather-stain, time-stain; not glaring nor gaudy; the color of all roofs, the color of things that endure, and the color that wears well; color of Egyptian ruins, of mummies and all antiquity; baked in the sun, done brown. Methought I saw the same color with which Ararat and Caucasus and all earth’s brows are stained, which was mixed in antiquity and receives a new coat every century; not scarlet, like the crest of the bragging cock, but that hard, enduring gray; a terrene sky color; solidified air with a tinge of earth.
The red elder was in full bloom by the road, apparently in prime.
We left the road at a schoolhouse, and, crossing a meadow, began to ascend gently through very rocky pastures. Previously an old man, a mile back, who lived on a hilltop on the road, pointed out the upper corner of his pasture as a short way up. Said he had not been up for seven years and, looking at our packs, asked “Are you going to carry them up?” “Well,” said he, with a tone of half of pity and half regret, adding, “I shall never go up again.”