and Other Natural History Essays
Henry David Thoreau
Geese Flying in Formation
Walden and Other Writings
H. D. Thoreau, a Writer's Journal
Thoreau in His Own Time
A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates
mid-forenoon (10:45), seventy or eighty geese, in three harrows
successively smaller, flying southwest - pretty well west - over the
house. A completely overcast, occasionally drizzling forenoon. I at
once heard their clangor and rushed to and opened the window. The three
harrows were gradually formed into one great one before they were out
of sight, the geese shifting their places without slacking their
At first I thought it a fish, maybe an eel, and when it had got half a dozen feet, I ran forward, and it dropped its prey and went into the wall. It was a muskrat, the head and part of the fore legs torn off and gone, but the rest still fresh and quite heavy, including hind legs and tail. It had probably killed this muskrat in the brook, eaten so much, and was dragging the remainder to its retreat in the wall.
A fine clear afternoon after the misty morning and heavy rain of the night. Even after all this rain I see the streaming lines of gossamer from trees and fences. From Fair Haven Hill the air is clear and fine-grained, and now it is a perfect russet November landscape - including the reddish brown of the oaks, excepting where the winter-rye fields and some low meadows show their green, the former quite bright, and also the evergreen patches of pines, edged in the northwest by the blue mountain ridges.
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