Thoreau Thursdays (40): Appointments with Trees

January 19, 2012

“But no weather interfered fatally with my walks, or rather my going abroad, for I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines . . . “
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Pines with wavy boughs

“Instead of calling on some scholar, I paid many a visit to particular trees . . . Sometimes I rambled to pine groves, standing like temples, or like fleets at sea, full-rigged, with wavy boughs.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Thoreau was an early tree-watcher.  He called trees “the shrines I visited both summer and winter.”  Thoreau is a wonderful role model for a self-taught naturalist.  I admire his curiosity and powers of observation, and I read with delight the many passages in Walden devoted to descriptions of his natural surroundings — birds, trees, ponds, soil, etc.

As I observe my “adopted” trees this year, I will try to emulate Thoreau’s natural curiosity and fresh eyes.  If you haven’t already noticed, I have created a special “Tree-Watching Project” category for my tree posts — you can find it on the right-hand side of the page, beneath the monthly archives.

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2 Responses to “Thoreau Thursdays (40): Appointments with Trees”


  1. Did you, will you, paint that?


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