Henry David Thoreau
Great Blue Heron
White Cap with Tattler
The Wisdom of Thoreau
From the Journal of Henry David Thoreau
Thoreau and the Art of Life
Reflections on Nature and the Mystery of Existence
Walden Then & Now
An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau's Pond
The Portable Thoreau
Walden, or Life in the Woods
6" Display, U.S. & International Wireless
P.M. -To White Pond.
One or two myrtle-birds in their fall dress, with brown
head and shoulders, two whitish bars on wings, and
bright-yellow rump. Sit on Clamshell, looking up the smooth stream. Two blue herons, or " herns, " as Goodwin
calls them, fly sluggishly up the stream. Interesting even is a stake, with its reflection, left standing in the still river by some fisherman.
Again we have smooth waters, yellow foliage, and faint warbling birds, etc., as in spring. The year thus repeats itself. Catch some of those dancing little fuzzy gnats in the air there over the shelly bank, and these are black, with black plumes, unlike those last seen over the Cassandra Pond.
Brushed a spectrum, ghost-horse, off my face in a
birch wood, by the J. P. Brown cold Heart-Leaf Pond.
Head sornewhat like a striped shake. That pond is drier than I ever saw it, perhaps - all but a couple of square rods in the middle - and now covered with cyperus, etc.
See what must be a solitary tattler feeding by the
water's edge, and it has tracked the mud all about. It
cannot be the Tringa pectoralis, for it has no conspicuous
white chin, nor black dashes on the throat, nor
brown on the back and wings, and I think I see the
round white spots on its wings.
The lespedeza leaves are all withered and ready to fall in the frosty hollows near Nut Meadow, and in the swamps the ground is already strewn with the first maple leaves, concealing the springiness of the soil, and many plants are prostrate there, November-like. High up in Nut Meadow, the very brook - push aside the half-withered grass which (the farmer disdaining to cut it) conceals it - is as cool as a spring, being near its sources.
Take perhaps our last bath in White Pond for the year. Half a dozen F. hyemalis about. Looking toward the sun, some fields reflect a light sheen from low webs of gossamer which thickly cover the stubble and grass.
On our way, near the Hosmer moraine, let off some
pasture thistle-down. One steadily rose from my hand,
freighted with its seed, till it was several hundred feet
high, and then passed out of sight eastward. Its down
was particularly spreading or open. Is not here a hint
to balloonists? Astronomers can calculate the orbit of
that thistle-down called the comet, now in the northwest
sky, conveying its nucleus, which may not be so solid
as a thistle's seed, somewhither, but what astronomer can calculate the orbit of my thistle-down and tell where
it will deposit its precious freight at last? It may still be
travelling when I am sleeping.
September 29, 1858
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