Thoreau's Journal: 12-Feb-1854

To make a perfect winter day like this, you must have a clear, sparkling air, with a sheen from the snow, sufficient cold, little or no wind; and the warmth must come directly from the sun. It must not be a thawing warmth. The tension of nature must not be relaxed. The earth must be resonant if bare, and you hear the lisping tinkle of chickadees from time to time and the unrelenting cold-steel scream of a jay, unmelted, that never flows into a song, a sort of wintry trumpet, screaming cold; hard, tense, frozen music, like the winter sky itself; in the blue livery of winter’s band. It is like a flourish of trumpets to the winter sky. There is no hint of incubation in the jay’s scream. Like the creak of a cart-wheel. There is no cushion for sounds now. They tear our ears.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Henry, (I beg your forebearance with my use of your first name, but sir - your poetry moves one toward intimacy as no long acquaintanceship could)
Until this winter, I shared your opinion of the Bluejay's voice. But, during a period of bitter dry weather electricity enabled me to maintain a shallow dish of water held above the temperature at which the molecules hold fast. As I refreshed the bowl one morning after a day where my lack of attention had left it dry - I swear this - a jay flew to the brim where he perched, and before he dipped his head to drink, he raised his head to me and uttered something so un-jay as to leave me rattled for the day. It was "Thank you". I swear it.