Out of the Past

Thoreau
December 8







and Other Natural History Essays

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
American Writer

Red Sky In the Morning by Royce Howland
Red Sky In the Morning by Royce Howland
Short Eared Owl
Short Eared Owl 
H.D. Thoreau
H. D. Thoreau, a Writer's Journal
Thoreau: A Book of Quotations
Thoreau
A Book of Quotations

Excursions
Excursions
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry David Thoreau
The Journal of Henry David Thoreau: 1837-1861
Kindle Edition
Walden
Walden
Thumbing Through Thoreau
Thumbing Through Thoreau
A Book of Quotations by Henry David Thoreau


Walden, or Life in the Woods Poster
Walden, or Life in the Woods
Poster


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Kindle
6" Display, U.S. & International Wireless



         

How can we spare to be abroad in the morning red, to see the forms of the leafless eastern trees against the dun sky and hear the cocks crow, when a thin low, mist hangs over the ice and frost in meadows?

I have come along the riverside in Merrick's pasture to collect for kindling the fat pine roots and knots which the spearers dropped last spring, and which the floods have washed up. Get a heaping bushel-basketful.

The thin, trembling sheets of imperfectly cemented ice or ice-crystals, loosened by the warmth of the day, now go floating down the stream, looking like dark ripples in the twilight and grating against the edges of the firm ice. They completely fill
the river where it is bridged with firmer ice below.

I observed a place on the shore where a small circle of the withered grass was feathered white with frost, and, putting down my hand, felt the muskrat's hole in the bank which was concealed to my eye.

At midday saw an owl fly from toward the river and alight on Mrs . Richardson's front-yard fence. Got quite near it, and followed it to a rock on the heap of dirt at Collier's cellar. A rather dark brown owl above (with a decided owl head (and eyes), though not very broad), with longitudinal tawny streaks (or the reverse), none transverse, growing lighter down the breast, and at length clear rusty yellowish or cream-color beneath and about feathered feet. Wings large and long, with a distinct large black spot beneath; bill and claws, I think, black. Saw no ears. Kept turning its head and great black eyes this way and that when it heard me, but appeared not to see me. I am inclined to think it the short-eared owl, though I could see no ears, though it reminded me of what I had read of the hawk owl. It was a foot or more long and spread about three feet. Flew somewhat flappingly, yet hawk-like. Went within two or three rods of it.



Walden at sunset .
The twilights, morn and eve, are very clear and light, very glorious and pure, or stained with red, and prolonged, these days. But, now the sun is set, Walden (I am on the east side) is more light than the sky - a whiteness as of silver plating, while the sky is yellowish in the horizon and a dusky blue above. Though the water is smooth enough, the trees are lengthened dimly one third in the reflection. Is this phenomenon peculiar to this season?

Goose Pond now firmly frozen. It had melted since it froze before.
I see there a narrow open channel in the ice, two and a half rods long and six inches wide, leading straight to a muskrat-house by the shore, apparently kept open by them. Snow will soon come, in a measure to restore the equilibrium between night and day by prolonging the twilight.

1853

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