Yesterday I posted an excerpt from Thoreau’s 1838 Journal, wherein he remarked on how we anticipate spring long before it is due to arrive. His entry from this date, 21 years later, reflects the same longing, and the same caution:
“As I go through Cassandra Ponds, I look round on the young oak woods still clad with rustling leaves as in winter, with a feeling as if it were their last rustle before the spring, but then I reflect how faraway still is the time when the new buds swelling will cause these leaves to fall. We thus commonly antedate the spring more than any other season, for we look forward to it with more longing. We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-maying. There may be a month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly the water, and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annually with distant prospect of spring. As if a man were to warm his hands by stretching them toward the rising sun and rubbing them.”
—From the Journal of Henry David Thoreau, March 2, 1859.