Out of the Past

Thoreau

November 19






Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
American Writer

Autumn Oak Leaf
Autumn Oak Leaf

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)
Partridge Berry
Mitchella repens

The Maine Woods
The Maine Woods

Walking
Walking

Transcendentalism: Essential Essays of Emerson & Thoreau
Transcendentalism: Essential Essays of Emerson & Thoreau

Walden's Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science
Walden's Shore
Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science


Essays by Henry David Thoreau
Essays

Delphi Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau
Delphi Complete Works of Henry David Thoreau
Kindle Edition

Walden
Walden

The Wisdom of the Vedas
The Wisdom of the Vedas

"An Insect View of Its Plain"
"An Insect View of Its Plain"

Insects, Nature and God in Thoreau, Dickinson and Muir




         

The first really cold day.

I find, on breaking off a shrub oak leaf, a little life at the foot of the leafstalk, so that a part of the green comes off. It has not died quite down to the point of separation, as it will do, I suppose, before spring.

Most of the oaks have lost their leaves except on the lower branches, as if they were less exposed and less mature there, and felt the changes of the seasons less. The leaves have either fallen or withered long since, yet I found this afternoon, cold as it is - and there has been snow in the neighborhood - some sprouts which had come up this year from the stump of a young black-looking oak, covered still with handsome fresh red and green leaves, very large and unwithered and unwilted. It was on the south side of Fair Haven in a warm angle, where the wood was cut last winter and the exposed edge of the still standing wood running north and south met the cliff at right angles and served for a fence to keep off the wind. There were one or two stumps here whose sprouts had fresh leaves which transported me back to October. Yet the surrounding shrub oak leaves were as dry and dead as usual.

There were also some minute birches only a year old, their leaves still freshly yellow, and some young wild apple trees apparently still growing, their leaves as green and tender as in summer.

Each season is thus drawn out and lingers in certain localities, as the birds and insects know very well. If you penetrate to some warm recess under a cliff in the woods, you will be astonished at the amount of summer life that still flourishes there. No doubt more of the summer's life than we are aware thus slips by and outmanoeuvres the winter, gliding from fence to fence.

I have no doubt that a diligent search in proper places would discover many more of our summer flowers thus lingering till the snow came, than we suspect.




Now that the grass is withered and the leaves are withered or fallen, it begins to appear what is evergreen: the partridgeberry and checkerberry, and wintergreen leaves even, are more conspicuous.

The old leaves have been off the pines now for a month.

I once found a kernel of corn in the middle of a deep wood
by Walden, tucked in behind a lichen on a pine, about as high as my head, either by a crow or a squirrel. It was a mile at least from any corn-field.

Several species plainly linger till the snow comes.


1850

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