5 February 1856

by layman k

Feb. 5. The weather is still clear, cold,and unrelenting. I have walked much on the river this winter, but, ever since it froze over, it has been on a snow-clad river, or pond. They have been river walks because the snow was shallowest there. Even the meadows, on account of the firmer crust, have been more passable than the uplands. In the afternoons I have walked off freely up or down the river, without impediment or fear, looking for birds and birds’ nests and the tracks of animals; and, as often as it was written over, a new snow came and presented a new blank page. If it were still after it, the tracks were beautifully distinct. If strong winds blew, the dry leaves, losing their holds, traversed and scored it in all directions. The sleighing would have been excellent all the month past if it had not been for the drifting of the surface snow into the track whenever the wind blew, but that crust on the old snow has prevented very deep drifts. I should [say] the average cold was about 8° at 8 A . Mi . and 18° or 20°at 3 P.M..

-from the journals of Henry David Thoreau