Thoreau's Journal: 28-Mar-1853

My Aunt Maria asked me to read the life of Dr. Chalmers, which however I did not promise to do. Yesterday, Sunday, she was heard through the partition shouting to my Aunt Jane, who is deaf, “Think of it! He stood half an hour to-day to hear the frogs croak, and he wouldn’t read the life of Chalmers."

6A.M—To Cliffs

Too cold for the birds to sing much. There appears to be more snow on the mountains. Many of our spring rains are snow-storms there. The woods ring with the cheerful jingle of the F. hyemalis. This is a very trig and compact little bird, and appears to be in good condition. The straight edge of slate on their breasts contrasts remarkably with the white from beneath; the short light-colored bill is also very conspicuous amid the dark slate; and when they fly from you, the two white feathers in their tails are very distinct at a good distance. They are very lively, pursuing each other from bush to bush. Could that be the fox-colored sparrow I saw this morning,—that reddish-brown sparrow?

I do not now think of a bird that hops so distinctly, rapidly, and commonly as the robin, with its head up.

Why is the pollen of flowers commonly yellow?


Publisher Jack said...

Speaking of yellow pollen, I wonder if Thoreau (or the people of the mid-1800s) suffered from allergies to the extent that the modern world does? If not, what does that mean? Is it the result of pollution and the deterioration of our immune systems? How sad that some people cannot enjoy nature's beauty because they are literally allergic to it.

Cathy said...

My grandmother, who was born in 1898, told of her childhood that was plagued with debilitating hay fever (ragweed pollen) and cat allergy. And no Kleenex. The 'good old days' are perhaps burnished by distance and remember - the life expectancy for men at the turn of the century was something like 45 years.