the lost outline
...Thoreau's Journal: 09-Jan-1859

At sundown to Walden.

Standing on the middle of Walden I see with perfect distinctness the forms and outlines of the low hills which surround it, though they are wooded, because they are quite white, being covered with snow, while the woods are for the most part bare or very thin-leaved. I see thus the outline of the hills eight or ten rods back through the trees. This I can never do in the summer, when the leaves are thick and the ground is nearly the same color with them. The white hills are now seen as through a veil of stems. Immediately after the wood was cut off, this outline, of course, was visible at all seasons, but the wood, springing up again, concealed it, and now the snow has come to reveal the lost outline.

The sun has been set some minutes, and as I stand on the pond looking westward toward the twilight sky, a soft, satiny light is reflected from the ice in flakes here and there, like the light from the under side of a bird’s wing. It is worth the while to stand here at this hour and look into the soft western sky, over the pines whose outlines are so rich and distinct against the clear sky. I am inclined to measure the angle at which a pine bough meets the stem. That soft, still, cream-colored sky seems the scene, the stage or field, for some rare drama to be acted on.

C. says the winter is the Sabbath of the year. The perfect winter days are cold, but clear and bright.

1 comment:

michael jameson said...

remembering my childhood, it is not just the people and things but more the temperature and the look of nature and the smells and sites of rivers and woods that i can clearly feel the most, i am pleased.