the early hours
...Thoreau's Journal: 24-Feb-1852

Railroad causeway.

I am reminded of spring by the quality of the air. The cock-crowing and even the telegraph harp prophesy it, though the ground is for the most part covered with snow. It is a natural resurrection, an experience of immortality. Observe the poplar’s swollen buds and the brightness of the willow’s bark.

The telegraph harp reminds me of Anacreon. That is the glory of Greece, that we are reminded of her only when in our best estate, our elysian days, when our senses are young and healthy again. I could find a name for every strain or intonation of the harp from one or other of the Grecian bards. I often hear Mimnermus, often Meander.
I am too late by a day or two for the sand foliage on the east side of the Deep Cut. It is glorious to see the soil again, here where a shovel, perchance, will enter it and find no frost. The frost is partly come out of this bank, and it is become dry again in the sun.

The very sound of men’s work reminds, advertises, me of the coming of spring. As I now hear at a distance the sound of the laborer’s sledge on the rails.

The empressement of a little dog when he starts any wild thing in the woods! The woods ring with his barking as if the tragedy of Actaeon were being acted over again.

Talked with two men and a boy fishing on Fair Haven, just before sunset. (Heard the dog bark in Baker’s wood as I came down the brook.) They had caught a fine parcel of pickerel and perch. The perch especially were full of spawn. The boy had caught a large bream which had risen to the surface, in his hands. They had none of them had ever seen one before in the winter, though they sometimes catch chivins. They had also kicked to dearth a muskrat that was crossing the southwest end of the pond on the snow. They told me of two otters being killed in Sudbury this winter, beside some coons near here.

As we grow older, is it not ominous that we have more to write about evening, less about morning? We must associate more with the early hours.


Anonymous said...

why would anyone kick to death a muskrat?

michael jameson said...

if we could reflect in the morning instead of the evening!, are minds are fresh and aware and unburdened by the events of the day! if we could do our listening and wondering then, what days we would then have!, who would we be! do not leave it till the end of day when we are clouded,and you will be fulfilled ! michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com

michael jameson said...

just a note for this person to ponder,i am a animal lover to extreme! but in the 1850's a muskrat was looked upon as no more then rat or a fish and were treated as such,they were everywhere and it was a food source and people were often hungry.