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August 16






Henry David Thoreau
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From the Journal of Henry David Thoreau

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Down river in boat with George Bradford.

Hibiscus Moschcutos(?), marsh hibiscus, apparently, N. Barrett's. Perchance has been out a week. I think it must be the most conspicuous and showy and at the same time rich-colored flower of this month. It is not so conspicuous as the sunflower, but of a rarer color - "pale rose-purple," they call it - like a hollyhock. It is surprising for its amount of color, and, seen unexpectedly amid the willows and button-bushes, with the mikania twining around its stern, you can hardly believe it is a flower, so large and tender it looks, like the greatest effort of the season to adorn the August days, and reminded me of that great tender moth, the Attacus Luna, which I found on the water near where it
grows. I think it must be allied to southern species. It suggests a more genial climate and luxuriant soil. It requires these vaporous dog-days.

These are locust days. I hear them on the elms in the street, but cannot tell where they are. Loud is their song, drowning many others, but men appear not to distinguish it, though it pervades their ears as the dust their eyes.

The river was exceedingly fair this afternoon, and there are few handsomer reaches than that by the leaning oak, the deep place, where the willows make a perfect shore.

At sunset, the glow confined to the north, it tinges the rails on the causeway lake-color, but behind they are a dead dark blue. I must look for the rudbeckia which Bradford says he found yesterday behind Joe Clark's.
August 16, 1852
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