Out of the Past
Thoreau
March 18








         

P. M . - Up river.
It is still quite tight at Hubbard's Bath Bend and at Clamshell, though I hesitate a little to cross at these places . There are dark spots in the soft, white ice, which will be soon worn through.

What a solid winter we have had! No thaw of any consequence; no bare ground since December 25th; but an unmelting mass of snow and ice, hostile to all greenness. Have not seen a green radical leaf even, as usual, all being covered up.

Nut Meadow Brook is open for a dozen rods from its mouth, and for a rod into the river. Higher up, it is still concealed by a snowy bridge two feet thick. I see the ripples made by some fishes, which were in the small opening at its mouth, making haste to hide themselves in the ice-covered river. This square rod and one or two others like it in the town are the only places where I could see this phenomenon now. Thus early they appear, ready to be the prey of the fish hawk.



Within the brook I see quite a school of little minnows, an inch long, amid or over the bare dead sterns of polygonums, and one or two little water-bugs (apple-seeds). The last also in the broad ditch on the Corner road, in Wheeler's meadow.

Notwithstanding the backwardness of the season, all the town still under deep snow and ice, here they are, in the first open and
smooth water, governed by the altitude of the sun. I see many small furrows, freshly made, in the sand at the bottom of the brook, from half an inch to three quarters wide, which I suspect are made by some small shellfish already moving, perhaps Paludina.

1856
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