Trees & Leaves Quotations


How little I know of that arbor-vitae when I have learned only what science can tell me!—Journal, 5 March 1858
I accurately pace the swamp in two directions and find it to be shaped thus:—upright sides, so that I can easily tell the species of oak that made it.—Journal2 February 1860
I am still a learner, not a teacher, feeding somewhat omnivorously, browsing both stalk and leaves—but I shall perhaps be enabled to speak with the more precision and authority by and by—if philosophy and sentiment are not buried under a multitude of details.—Thoreau to H. G. O. Blake, 21 May 1856
I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well.—Walden
I must call that swamp of E. Hubbard's west of the Hunt Pasture, Yellow Birch Swamp. There are more of those trees than anywhere else in town that I know . . . The sight of these trees affects me more than California gold.—Journal, 4 January 1853
It is a thorough process, this war with the wilderness—breaking nature, taming the soil, feeding it on oats. The civilized man regards the pine tree as his enemy. He will fell it and let in the light, grub it up and raise wheat or rye there. It is no better than a fungus to him.—Journal, 2 February 1852
Let me say to you and to myself in one breath: Cultivate the tree which you have found to bear fruit in your soil. Regard not your past failures nor successes. All the past is equally a failure and a success; it is success in as much as it offers you the present opportunity.—Journal, after 16 July 1850
Nature makes no noise. The howling storm, the rustling leaf, the pattering rain are no disturbance, there is an essential and unexplored harmony in them.—Journal18 November 1837
Nature will bear the closest inspection; she invites us to lay our eye level with the smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain. She has no interstices; every part is full of life.—"Natural History of Massachusetts"
On foot, however, we continued up along the bank, feeling our way with a stick through the showery and foggy day, and climbing over the slippery logs in our path with as much pleasure and buoyancy as in brightest sunshine; scenting the fragrance of the pines and the wet clay under our feet, and cheered by the tones of invisible waterfalls; with visions of toadstools, and wandering frogs, and festoons of moss hanging from the spruce trees, and thrushes flitting silent under the leaves . . .—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
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