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Title: In the Open
Author: Kirkham, Stanton Davis, 1868-1944
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In the Open" ***

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IN THE OPEN

INTIMATE STUDIES
AND APPRECIATIONS OF
NATURE BY

STANTON DAVIS KIRKHAM

AUTHOR OF

"WHERE DWELLS THE SOUL SERENE"
"THE MINISTRY OF BEAUTY"

"_Over and above a healthy
curiosity, or any scientific
acquaintance, it is the
companionship of the woods
and fields which counts--
a real friendship for birds
and bees and flowers._"

PAUL ELDER & COMPANY

SAN FRANCISCO AND NEW YORK



_Copyright, 1908
by_ PAUL ELDER AND COMPANY



TO MY WIFE
MARY WILLIAMS KIRKHAM
THIS BOOK IS
AFFECTIONATELY
DEDICATED



PREFACE


_There is an estate on which we pay no tax and which is not susceptible
of improvement. It is of indefinite extent and is to be reached by
taking the road to the nearest woods and fields. While this is quite as
valuable as any property we may possess, as a matter of fact few assert
their title to it._

_Nature is in herself a perpetual invitation to come into the open. The
woods are an unfailing resource; the mountains and the sea,
companionable. To count among one's friends, the birds and flowers and
trees is surely worth while; for to come upon a new flower is then in
the nature of an agreeable event, and a chance meeting with a bird may
lend a pleasant flavor to the day._



CONTENTS


PREFACE                   v

THE POINT OF VIEW         1

SIGNS OF SPRING          11

BIRD LIFE                22

SONGS OF THE WOODS       40

WILD GARDENS             56

WEEDS                    69

INSECT LORE              78

THE WAYS OF THE ANT      94

AUTUMN STUDIES          113

PASTURE STONES          127

NEIGHBORS               136

THE WINTER WOODS        153

LAUGHING WATERS         164

THE MOUNTAINS           173

THE FOREST              185

THE SEA                 196

INDEX                   209


     _A flock of wild geese on the wing is no less than an
     inspiration. When that strong-voiced, stout-hearted company
     of pioneers pass overhead, our thoughts ascend and sail with
     them over the roofs of the world. As band after band come
     into the field of vision--minute glittering specks in the
     distant blue--to cross the golden sea of the sunset and
     disappear in the northern twilight, their faint melodious
     honk is an Orphean strain drawing irresistibly._

     AFTER THE PAINTING BY
     LOUIS AGASSIZ FUERTES

[Illustration]



THE POINT OF VIEW


Nature is in herself a perpetual invitation: the birds call, the trees
beckon and the winds whisper to us. After the unfeeling pavements, the
yielding springy turf of the fields has a sympathy with the feet and
invites us to walk. It is good to hear again the fine long-drawn note
of the meadow-lark--voice of the early year,--the first bluebird's
warble, the field-sparrow's trill, the untamed melody of the kinglet--a
magic flute in the wilderness--and to see the ruby crown of the beloved
sprite. It is good to inhale the mint crushed underfoot and to roll
between the fingers the new leaves of the sweetbrier; to see again the
first anemones--the wind-children,--the mandrake's canopies, the
nestling erythronium and the spring beauty, like a delicate carpet; or
to seek the clintonia in its secluded haunts, and to feel the old
childlike joy at sight of lady's-slippers.

It is worth while to be out-of-doors all of one day, now and then, and
to really _know_ what is morning and what evening; to observe the
progress of the day as one might attend a spectacle, though this
requires leisure and a free mind. The spirit of the woods will not lend
itself to a mere fair-weather devotion. You must cast in your lot with
the wild and take such weather as befalls. If you do not now and then
spend a day in the snow, you miss some impressions that no fair weather
can give. When you have walked for a time in the spring shower, you
have a new and larger sympathy with the fields. The shining leaves,
glistening twigs, jeweled cobwebs and the gentle cadence of the falling
rain all tell you it is no time to stay indoors.

Life in the woods sharpens the nose, the eyes, the ears. There are
nose-feasts, eye-feasts, ear-feasts. What if the frost-grapes are
sour--they are fair to look at. Some things are for the palate and some
for the eye. The fragrance of blackberries is as delicate as the
flavor, a spicy aroma, a woodsy bouquet, and to eat without seeing or
smelling is to lose much. Clustered cherries, so lustrous black with
their red stems, refresh the inner and the outer man. You may safely
become a gourmand with respect to these wild flavors. Their virtue is
of the volatile sort that will not stand bottling; it will not enter
into essence or tincture. You must yourself go out and pick the cherry
under a September sky and in the presence of the first glowing leaves
of sumac and Virginia creeper.

Does not the bayberry revive and exhilarate the walker, as
smelling-salts restore fainting women? You have but to roll the waxen
berry in the fingers, or crush the leaf, to feel that indefinable
thrill which belongs to the woods, to the open air--the free life.
Another vigorous and stimulating odor is the fragrance of green
butternuts, which contains the goodness, the sweetness, the very marrow
of the woods, and calls out the natural and unaffected, as a strain of
music arouses the heroic. The tartness of the barberry matches the
crispness of the air and rebukes the lack of vigor in us. No true child
can resist the lure of wintergreen berries, while to nibble the bark of
a fresh young sassafras shoot admits us to some closer association with
Nature. A whiff of balsam is an invitation to share the abandon of the
woods, and awakens memories of the halcyon days, the shining hours,
when nutting and berrying were the real things of life.

One who is possessed with the idea of finding a certain bird or plant
is in a fair way to the discovery, and sooner or later each will come
into the field of vision. How the robin discovers the worm is a mystery
to be explained on the score of _attention_; it is perfect
concentration on a single point, with faculties trained in that
direction. That the footsteps of ants were audible had not occurred to
me till one day in watching the progress of the annual raid of the red
ants upon the black colonies, I plainly heard the patter of their feet,
as the column marched at double-quick over the floor of dry leaves.
There are many sounds in Nature that only become evident when we give
absolute attention, when we become all ear,--as there are things seen
only when we become for the time an eye.

Sensitive and sympathetic natures rarely confuse one person with
another, whereas the cold or obtuse really never see the finer
distinctions in a face. They make poor observers. Any one unacquainted
with birds will show by an attempted description that he has not in the
least seen the bird. I have known old lumbermen who had not noticed the
difference in the needles of the species of pine, nor the leaves of
oaks; but they knew the difference in the quality of the wood well
enough, because that appealed to their interest and held their
attention.

Preparedness adds zest to the walk and enriches it, precisely as a
broad culture and a fund of information enlarge the view of the
traveler. Notwithstanding what may be in the woods, it takes some
understanding and some interest to see it. An unprepared person will
see little; an uninterested person will see nothing. To many of the
villagers the wood-lot is a remote and unfamiliar wilderness, and the
warblers and vireos as unknown as any tropic bird. We should at least
know the kinglets by their caste-mark--whether it be red or yellow--and
the oriole by the colors of his ancient line.

Given a certain preparedness even the rocks become instinct with
suggestion. They are more than stone,--even historical reminders, which
incite one to long and pleasing trains of thought. In the mountains I
came upon a flat ledge of shale which showed ripple marks of an earlier
sea than any we know, a far-off Devonian ocean which once washed this
primitive beach. They had long parted company, and now the beach was
up among the spruce and balsams,--such vicissitudes are there in the
fortunes of all. The ancient waters had left their mark, that however
high the rock might go, it should none the less speak of the mother
sea. Again, the traces of glaciation on ledges and boulders appeal to
the imagination with a peculiar eloquence. What a mighty cosmic plane
was that which smoothed these granite ledges! It planed off New England
as if it were a knot on a plank, and scattered over it the dust and
chips of the workshop. These ledges serve as a fairly accurate compass,
and are at least more reliable than the lichens on the trees.

Some men have an eye for trees and an inborn sympathy with these rooted
giants, as if the same sap ran in their own veins. To them trees have a
personality quite as animals have, and, to be sure, there are
"characters" among trees. I knew a solitary yellow pine which towered
in the landscape, the last of its race. Its vast columnar trunk seemed
to loom and expand as one approached. Always there was distant music in
the boughs above, a noble strain descending from the clouds. Its song
was more majestic than that of any other tree, and fell upon the
listening ear with the far-off cadence of the surf, but sweeter and
more lyrical, as if it might proceed from some celestial harp. Though
there was not a breeze stirring below, this vast tree hummed its mighty
song. Apparently its branches had penetrated to another world than
this, some sphere of unceasing melody.

There is a difference in the voices of trees. Some with difficulty
utter any note, or answer to the storm alone; others only sigh and
shiver. There are days when they gently murmur together, as if a rumor
of general interest had reached them. Again the woods are silent, until
one enters a grove of white pines, when on the instant a sweet low
chant falls on the ear. Come upon the aspen on quiet days and it is all
of a tremor, in a little ecstasy by itself, while the rest are mute.
Trees change their songs with the season. In winter the whistling,
rattling, roaring of hickories and oaks is a veritable witch-song,
beside which the voices of midsummer days are as the cooing of doves.
During a quiet snowfall, the white crystals sifting through the pines
convey the idea of a gentle sociability somewhere in the branches
overhead, the softly whispered and amiable gossip of pine-needles and
snowflakes, old cronies who have not met in the past eight months.

The woods offer unlimited opportunity for making acquaintances, and
nothing else stimulates the interest more than this. The keenest
pleasure is in meeting a new bird: a rare and subtle stimulus not to be
defined, to be experienced only and cherished as a memory. You stand in
the midst of one of the mixed flocks of autumn--winter visitants with a
sprinkling of warblers, and perhaps a blue-headed vireo and a pair of
silent thrushes--and recognize old friends, with a chance of
discovering a stranger. It calls out the zest for the woods like an
appetite for dinner--a finer, more ethereal appetite, which is
satisfied through the eye and ear. Occasionally the blue-headed vireo
may be heard, though the season is far advanced, and the little Parula
warbler indulges in a spiritual and melodious reverie, as if he already
had visions of another spring and was communicating in a state of
trance and ecstasy his prophetic thought.

One supremely mellow day the last of October, there came a pair of
hermits to a secluded spot, flitting into a white oak, where they
remained regarding me with round bright eyes. In due season they
crossed to the pine under which I sat, whereupon one, directly over my
head, began cautiously descending from branch to branch through the
lower dead limbs until he was but a few feet from my face. Here he sat,
regarding me in a gentle friendly way and talking to himself in an
undertone--or was he talking to me? The impelling force continued to
draw my little friend--it was mutual did he but know, a true case of
love at sight--for at last, with an indescribable little flutter, he
dropped from his perch with the evident intent of alighting upon me,
but changed his course directly in my face, and with a swift motion of
the wings darted into the shrubbery. Upon a near view the spell had
broken, and he was again the timid solitary thrush.

It is because the wild life is so shy and elusive that the unexpected
encounters have such charm. They are altogether clandestine and
romantic. You may stroll time and again without the least
encouragement, as though wholly ostracized from this society; and then
some morning you are welcomed on every hand and admitted to the inner
circle of the wood life. About the woods there is ever an enticing
mystery. They invite us to enter as though they concealed some
treasure we sought. A race dwells here apart, and we turn aside for
that silent and refreshing company. When they speak, their speech is
lyrical. There are men who have never known any friendship in Nature;
others again who never outgrow the love of birds and flowers, who
preserve some youthfulness and innocence which keeps them in touch with
wild life. Over and above a healthy curiosity, or any scientific
acquaintance, it is the _companionship_ of the woods and fields which
counts--a real friendship for birds and bees and flowers. Let us
remember the woods in the days of our youth, that we may have this
unfailing resource in later years.



SIGNS OF SPRING


The approach of spring is felt, rather than reasoned about. There is
that in us which rises to greet the incoming tide of the year before
our eyes have apprised us of any change. Winter lies over the world
much as ashes are banked on coals for the night, which nevertheless
retain their heat and will be found alive and glowing in the morning.
In the tropics the fire is not banked and there is no cold dawn with
anticipations of the kindly blaze soon to arise, no gradual uncovering
of the cheerful coals. Here in New England the dawn is rigorous and
spring more welcome. The winter buds are evidence that it is not far
away, and it takes but the least encouragement at any time for this
latent heat and life to awake and show itself in the high blueberry
twigs. Such buoyant faith has the skunk-cabbage it never entirely loses
sight of spring, but exerts some spell over its muddy bed, whereby you
may see that there, at least, it has already come in November.

The reddening of the twigs is in effect a prelude, and precedes the
real spring as dawn precedes daylight, or twilight the night; this is
the dawn of the year and these blueberry twigs its first flush. Smilax
turns suddenly green as the sap circulates in its spiny stems, and the
brown and sear aspect of the earth is relieved and enlivened. This
early green is as refreshing to the eye as the first rhubarb to the
palate.

One of the earliest signs is the little rosette of bright-colored
leaves on the smaller hair-cap mosses, growing in contact with an
outcropping ledge. You may see whole patches in the pastures, varying
from orange to deep red, a vivid bit of color next the brown earth and
looking like diminutive blossoms. Then come the fruiting spikes of the
common field horsetails, poking out of some sand-bank. These signs of
the awakening season appeal to the trained eye rather than to the
casual glance. Such an one detects the slightest swelling of a
leaf-bud, the faint reddening of a twig, the deeper green of another.
The sap dripping from the freshly cut limb of a birch, or pendent from
the wound in a long glittering icicle, is evidence of the quickened
circulation of the earth. Among the thick mat of dry leaves you may
perhaps find the delicate shoots of wood anemones, and in the swamps
the tightly rolled stipes of the osmunda, like little croziers, while
there is ice yet in the leaves of the pitcher-plant.

Deep lying in all men is a poetic vein which now appears on the
surface. The first pussy-willows and the arrival of bluebirds arouse
sentiments as common to us as the love of music: some suggestion of
renewal, of awakening after the sleep of winter, which touches even the
rough man and makes him kin for a day to the child. We embark each year
on the sea of winter, with unquestioning faith that on its other shore
spring awaits us, once more to shake the violets from her lap. When, in
March, that shore looms in the distance, we feel the joy of travelers
in sight of their native land. There may be rough seas, and March winds
are blustery, but _there_ in sight, nevertheless, is that faint outline
on the horizon.

No blossoming rod of Aaron could appear more miraculous than do the
flowering willows. These twigs of brown and lifeless aspect suddenly
burst into bloom and array themselves in exquisite silvery gray
catkins, while the snow may be still on the ground. Not long after,
the alders in the swamp unfold their clusters of drooping aments which
have been on the tree stiff and rigid throughout the winter. Thousands
of little tails are thus mysteriously hung out on the alder twigs to
sway gently in the breeze, turning from a reddish hue to a
sulphur-yellow as they expand and become powdered with pollen. Born
into a frosty world when the feeble sun is still distant and cold, the
March flowers are a link between winter and spring. But Nature has
certainly relaxed her features; there is just the ghost of a smile on
her icy lips.

This year I heard the bluebird's warble on the 4th of February, but did
not see the bird, and heard no more till early in March, when they came
in flocks. Out of the sky comes to us this liquid note, as if the
heavens had opened and poured upon us their benediction. How sweet it
is to the ear, what music to the heart! And when suddenly a little
flock starts up from the wall or fence, how rich and welcome to the
eye, long denied its modicum of color, is the blue of their backs! We
have had little but artificial tastes and colors and perfumes for so
long that the senses seize with avidity these first offerings--we are
hungry for them.

It changes the whole aspect of things, when on some raw day the first
redwing of the season appears--a vivid bit of color in the bleak swamp,
a hopeful and melodious voice breaking the silence of the year. The
birds are shy and elusive on their arrival and we have every year to
become acquainted again. Even the robins are furtive and silent,
flitting in the sheltered swamps; but the middle of March finds them
calling to each other in their old jocular way. Drawn by the same
subtle influence, the angleworm seems to work toward the surface about
the time the robin is thinking of the lawn, till one day they meet as
by appointment. If the season is late, the worm retires below where it
is less frosty, and the robin takes to the sumac berries, or whatever
else he can find, and defers his spring relish a little longer.

Round about there is an awakening as from an enchanted sleep; the
drowsy world yawns and stretches. The highhole is in evidence, and his
rattling call is calculated to awake the sleepers in that pasture at
least. Soon the chipmunk is on the wall, and the woodchuck warily pokes
his head from his burrow. This note of the highhole is irrepressibly
exuberant and ringing with energy. If it does not prove a tonic to you,
nothing else will. He is even more emphatic in his drumming. His lively
tattoo goes well with his vigorous call. Time to be up and doing! _Wake
up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!_

Presently the first flock of fox-sparrows drop down from somewhere and
go to scratching among the leaves, like so many chickens. The present
season a flock of perhaps fifty settled in and around a thicket on
March 24th. Their bold clear notes could be heard some distance away,
and drew one in that direction. Numbers of them were hopping about, and
occasionally a bird would rise to a branch overhead and sing, looking
like a hermit-thrush as his back was turned. The place was given over
to the sparrows, and never was thicket more tuneful. There was the
sound of unceasing revelry--a sylvan and melodious revelry.

At this season the impulse to expression is natural and daily becomes
more evident. Even the crow begins to affect music and to show off his
accomplishments. But it is Mlle. Corbeau, and not M. Reynard, that
incites him to this exhibition of vanity. You may hear him in the pine
grove, apparently gargling his throat, which is meant for a gay roulade
to please the ear of some dusky beauty lingering near and perhaps
affecting indifference. This is only a prelude to the astonishing
falsetto that sometimes follows, and which, be it hoped, may prove more
acceptable to Mlle. Corbeau than to our more critical ears. It is very
evident something is going on. The large flocks of winter have given
away to small and excited bands which keep up a perpetual clamor. It is
no surprise, then, some day in March to detect a crow carrying twigs.

At no other time is there such concerted singing among the
song-sparrows as in these first days of the arrival of any considerable
flocks. From bare fields and brown hedgerows arises this simple and
spontaneous expression of joy, a primitive invocation to the goddess
Spring, fresh and clear and innocent as the morning itself. As they hop
about among the dry weeds, one will now and then pick up a straw and
hold it meditatively a moment with some premonition of the nest.
Presently they will be flitting among the still leafless brambles and
briers with an air of secrecy and importance. Some bright morning in
March there comes to the listening ear the song of the purple finch--a
wild sweet strain with the abandon of gipsy music, which thrills with
its very wildness and unrestraint. Anon Phoebe arrives with dry
little voice and familiar swoop after the first incautious fly.

Every season has its characteristic song. More than all others is the
voice of the hyla, essentially springlike and to be associated with no
other time. For several days there has been an occasional desultory
chirp from the woods, when of a sudden, some clear evening, there comes
out of the stillness that wonderfully sweet piping of little frogs.
Fresh and ringing as child voices, it has, at a distance, a certain
rhythm, a soothing cadence, which lulls the ear like the musical patter
of rain-drops in summer showers. Put your ear close to one--if you can
find him--and the sound is deafening, so loud and shrill it pierces to
the very marrow. The small creature sits in some low shrub in the
swamp, grasping a twig on either side as with tiny hands, while it
inflates its air-sac from time to time and sings the love-song of its
race. Heard afar, how soft and pleasing are these answering calls of
the hylas which are the very voice of the evening itself.

About the time the hylas begin to sing in chorus, you may look for the
appearance of the leopard-frog. He is to be heard at midday in his pond
uttering a most deliberate and prolonged snore, evenly and smoothly
drawn out, as if his sleep were dreamless and content. Presently there
is an answering snore, full as deliberate and serene, from across the
pond, followed by long intervals of silence. Very different from this
somnolent song of the leopard-frog is the shrilling of garden-toads.
Not every one would recognize the solemn and dusty toad of the
flower-beds, that flops from under the feet in the dusk, in this
brighter colored creature, floating at full length in the shallow
water, his air-sac inflated before him like a parti-colored bubble. The
shrilling of toads fills the air; they are under a spell, a witchery,
which has set them all to chanting this single strain--high-pitched and
subdued--with a sort of mild frenzy.

April brings the twittering of tree-swallows, and spreads a tinge of
color like a faint red mist over the swamps. This flower of the maple
is one whose virtues are seldom sung, as though the blossoms of trees
counted for little. Surely the bursting of silver-gray rods into this
vivid bloom is an event worthy the muse. It is not only in autumn the
red maple graces the swamp. These modest blossoms of the early
year--willow, alder, poplar, elm, maple--must have their place in the
flower calendar, are worthy a Festival of Trees, to be associated with
the song of the hyla.

Anything like an exact flower calendar is out of the question, for much
depends on the locality and the season. We look for bloodroot and
hepatica to follow arbutus, and yet I have on occasion found bluets
several weeks in advance of these. The saxifrage is perhaps quite as
early as any, though I have seen the buds of the marsh-marigold about
to open on the 25th of March. Much depends on which has the more
favorable spot in any locality. In a warm nook, on the 13th of April,
bloodroot, hepatica, spring-beauty, early saxifrage, dicentra, wood-and
rue-anemones and adder's-tongue, as well as common blue and
long-spurred violets, were blooming together in profusion. The
saxifrage and bloodroot might, of course, have been seen a week
earlier. In the same spot several days later, columbines, miterwort
and groundnut, and also sweet white violets, downy yellow and
lance-leaved violets, were added to the list and were followed by
bellworts and wood-betony. This was in northern New Jersey. Meanwhile I
had seen only the common blue violets in the Connecticut Valley, while
in eastern Massachusetts the wood-anemones were not in bloom, and the
leaf of the columbine had just appeared above the soil. This particular
spot was evidently a sort of natural forcing ground where the columbine
was made to bloom with the bloodroot. What becomes of your flower
calendar here? Looking still for signs of spring, I came full upon the
fickle goddess herself.

Before we know it, the migration of warblers has begun and the keen ear
detects their thin wiry notes. But this is not so much a sign as it is
the fulfilling of prophecies.



BIRD LIFE


Walking through bare fields in the chill and birdless world some winter
days, it is brought home to us what an _essential_ feature of our
surroundings the birds are, what a lack there is when they are absent!
A certain poverty lies over the earth; the sky is no longer complete
without a swift or a martin. Birds are part of the landscape; it is
they which animate it. Rarely, when it seems most destitute, a flock of
snow-buntings will come swirling over the pasture, like great
snowflakes driven before the blast. Again, as the wind will pick up dry
snow and blow it over the field, they are off and whirling away,
glittering in the pale yellow light of the winter day as they wheel and
come to the ground. But their presence has redeemed and softened the
austere landscape, made the earth habitable once more and the bare
fields friendly and companionable.

The first snipe and plover in the spring remind us what stay-at-homes
are we, what wanderers they. We must appear to them but poor mollusks,
as they come and go each year on their way from Patagonia to the Arctic
Circle. In how many States, in what diversity of climes they are at
home! And wherever they may be they get their own living by no one's
favor. This prodigious self-reliance affects one as a species of
heroism, whereas it is as unconscious as the falling rain.

What familiarity with the elements and with natural features of the
earth the migrating birds must acquire--with winds and clouds, with
mountain chains and rivers and coast lines! They know the landmarks and
guide-posts of two continents and can find their own way. The whistle
of curlew, or the honk of wild geese high in the air, seems a greeting
out of the clouds from these cosmopolites, to us, sitting rooted to the
earth beneath. A flock of wild geese on the wing is no less than an
inspiration. When that strong-voiced, stout-hearted company of pioneers
pass overhead, our thoughts ascend and sail with them over the roofs of
the world. As band after band come into the field of vision--minute
glittering specks in the distant blue--to cross the golden sea of the
sunset and disappear in the northern twilight, their faint melodious
honk is an Orphean strain drawing irresistibly.

A sort of noble madness seizes the birds in the spring, so that an
exodus of inconceivable extent takes place toward the North, as though
the Pole were a magnet to them. There is a suggestion of epic splendor
in this vast impulse, this flight of the feathered tribes of the earth.
We may well ask the bobolink, What news from Brazil? and the returning
plover, What of the Frozen Sea? What bird-memories do they cherish of
these remote regions? It casts a halo of romance about them, that they
should thus be at home in lands that may perhaps remain ever unvisited
by us.

As if actuated by a sublime faith, in the midst of plenty they arise
and depart, drawn ever to the remote solitudes to rear their young,
like those citizens who return to their own country that their children
may be born in the Fatherland. I do not know if our affinity is greater
with the bob-white and the ruffed grouse, which hear no call to depart,
or with these nomads of the earth. In the coldest weather, redpolls,
crossbills and snow-buntings come to us as to a land of plenty. This is
near enough the equator for these hardy birds--this is their genial
South. It is pleasant to reflect that the falling mercury, which
deprives us of the last of the summer residents, will at the same time
bring us some dweller in the far North which perhaps otherwise we
should not see.

The advancing season makes itself known through the songsters; they
have keener perceptions and receive other intimations than come to us.
Day by day, as by appointment, they reappear from Florida, from the
Amazon and the Orinoco, and make themselves at home again in northern
pastures. I have come to look for the tree-swallows as regularly on the
1st of April, as for the oriole on the 10th of May, as if these were
calendar events of real importance. Between the middle of April and the
20th of May lie the incomparable days of the migrating warblers--days
of discovery and adventure, when the torpor of indifference slips away,
and, like a subtle fire in the blood, is felt that enthusiasm the years
do not diminish. When, at night, the small birds pass overhead, their
faint silvery "tseeps" come out of the silence with a weird suggestion
of voices from the unseen world.

Now, the days are full of pleasing suggestions because of little birds
shyly flitting with plant-down and with rootlets and dried grasses.
Some are unmistakably house-hunting, and the female turns herself about
in the crotch of a limb, trying if it be of the right proportions.
Interest in bird life centers about this season. This is their life;
the rest is a preparation or a waiting. It is only natural there should
be an air of secrecy about them now. They are doing their best to
conceal and elude, as indeed they must, and this necessity, being
uppermost in their minds, becomes evident in their manner.

While I am watching a pair of pewees gather lichens from an old maple
for their beautiful shallow nest, the barn-swallows shoot by with mud
for their adobe huts. Now and then one pulls from the mud a few fine
rootlets--perhaps of the white violet or gold thread growing there--and
carries them off. They evidently know their trade. A chestnut warbler
appears with some plant-fiber in her bill, and gives a cluck of
surprise and disgust to find some one on the ground where she thought
to have her secluded and private estate. She hesitates with the down
still in her bill; it is evident what she must be thinking; but at
length she decides to risk it, and enters the huckleberries. She has,
of course, gone into the bushes a long way from the nest. One has great
sympathy with the birds in their little circumventions and
dissimulations, knowing their tribulations. They live among their
numerous foes much as did the early settlers in this land,--that is to
say, in spite of them. The weasel, the owl, and the cat--the terrible
cat--are appointed to decimate the population of birds.

In the several nests of warblers, I am observing, the thrifty housewife
is evidently the home-builder, whereas the male seems to take it upon
himself merely to cheer and encourage her. After she has constructed a
framework she settles herself in this and builds the wall around her,
quite as if she were fitting a garment to herself. Her little ways
while so engaged are distinctly feminine. To think that she has never
been taught her trade, has perhaps never before fitted such a garment,
and she is already deft and expert! The pair seem to take an almost
human satisfaction in their home. Now and again they appear to talk it
over together. Who can doubt they have some pleasure in this
preparation, that they have bird-plans and bird-hopes?

We do not really know, a bird till we have found its nest and seen it
at home. When I came upon the nest of the snowbird in the midst of a
clearing in the mountains, it was like visiting the house for the first
time of one I had known for years--a person of some distinction at
that. It was placed high and dry on a tussock in a flaming patch of
hawkweed. She had an eye for the practical, and knew better than to put
her house where the cellar might be flooded. The four greenish mottled
eggs were her one priceless treasure, which was to her as life itself.
They were warm, and the whole aspect of the nest was sweet and
inviting. It appeared to breathe some feminine element, so dainty was
it, so begirt with flowers.

A humming-bird's nest that I have been watching the present season is
placed on a pitch pinecone, and appears to a casual view to be the cone
itself. It seems as if the bird had it in mind to simulate this or she
would not have chosen such a peculiar site, for it affords no advantage
from a structural point of view. If this be true it is a departure from
all traditions, and shows a bird of some character and originality. In
other respects it is like any humming-bird's nest--one of the most
exquisite of all natural objects.

[Illustration: BIRD LIFE COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

In the course of ten days, in place of one of the eggs appeared a small
and peculiarly homely object which resembled a spider as much as
anything. Two days later the other egg was hatched. At this stage the
bills of the young birds were very short, but day by day they
lengthened and grew more needlelike. At length one bird opened its
minute and shining black eyes for the first time. The other fell from
the nest on the following day, before its eyes were opened, so that all
it had known of life was the consciousness of hunger.

The female fed her young with much less frequency than do other birds.
When so engaged she perched upon the rim of the nest and pumped the
food into them after the manner of her kind. As she flew to and fro,
she appeared to move always at the same speed, as if her wings were
keyed to a definite rate of vibration and could not vary. Gradually the
young bird emerged from its gruesome infancy, and day by day became
more sylphlike. Heavy winds prevailed, but the diminutive cradle
remained unharmed, though branches were everywhere blown from the
trees. So was the wind tempered in that case at least, till one day
the sylph left the nest, as a thistle-down might detach itself and sail
away on the breeze.

Birds have their home-trees, and one whose traditions are of the pine
is not drawn to build in hardwoods. The woodthrush is associated with
the dogwood, as the catbird with the smilax, and the oriole with the
elm. There are ancient apple orchards which have come to serve only the
bees and the birds; but what temples of music in May with the hum of
bees, and in June with the song of wrens! At this season you cannot do
better than to set out for one of these old-time orchards, neglected of
man and favored of heaven.

The virile hum of honey-and carpenter-bees descends from the flowery
summits to the listener beneath, the contented music of a race dwelling
overhead and nearer the skies than we. It is such an apple--Baldwin,
pippin, or russet--gnarled and archaic in trunk and a bower of beauty
above, which becomes the home-tree of that feathered gnome, the
house-wren, a sprightly elf, living in the depths of a tree trunk and
yet full to the brim of song. He may derive of the flowing sap some
genial trait and takes to the apple as a swift to the chimney, or a
redwing to the swamp. After the cold rains of late May have taken off
the blossoms and with them the bees, the place becomes melodious with
his song. It is thenceforth his estate, and he dominates it with his
small personality. With him his house is his castle, and in true
medieval fashion he barricades his door. Within is snug enough, but
without it has a feudal and forbidding look,--a formidable barrier of
twigs, erected perhaps against the house-sparrow or for fear the
robber-owl may peer too closely.

In this choice of a building site the bird reveals something of itself.
Contrast the wren with the phoebe, a cliff-dweller, loving the
contact of the ledge itself better than any bush or tree. The
song-sparrow has an eye for the wild rose and the yellow warbler for
apple blossoms, but the phoebe has some austere traits which make the
stern rock more congenial to her. Some birds are architects, others
builders merely. The vireos are a family of artists, whereas the
improvident cuckoo will not even lay a proper floor to her nest.

A look into some nests is a glance at the domestic life of a savage
people, and yet we find the virtues we most esteem--patience,
perseverance and fortitude. Hour in and hour out the faithful
kingfisher flies from the nest to the fishing-ground, bringing each
time a small fish. He is a primitive and industrious fisherman who gets
an honest living by his skill and supports his family, yet he is under
ban, while the dilettante whips the stream for his pleasure. The hoarse
rattle of the kingfisher is an altogether barbarous chant with which he
beguiles himself as with a hunting song. His is an austere temperament
with no room for melody. But that he returns every year to the same
nest--the ancestral hall--is evidence of some more domestic and kindly
trait in his character.

This nest is an excavation in the sand, high in a bluff, and is perhaps
five feet deep,--a true cave, and its inmate a cave-dweller. We have
thus both cave-and cliff-dwellers among us--primitive states of man
still exemplified by birds. The cave-dweller had something in common
with the kingfisher, which led him to burrow in the earth for a home.

That was truly an aboriginal abode which I came upon in the spruce
woods in a region of perpetual twilight. The somber spruce was relieved
only by some veteran yellow birches and by ghostly patches of false
miterwort on a projecting ledge. High in a birch was a small hole from
which the scarlet crown and chin of a sapsucker appeared in view, as
the bird thrust out his head and looked inquiringly about. A harsh
imperious call brought the female, who clung to the trunk till the male
came out, whereupon she dived into the hole herself, while he in turn
went foraging.

Whenever the pair were absent from the nest the insatiable young were
heard squealing within. It was a fearsome place that was home to these
young savages, a room within a tower, lighted by a single small window
far above. To think of being born and raised in the dark heart of a
tree! The old birds called to each other from time to time as they
hunted over the neighborhood, and their speech was as that of wild men,
the very rudiments of language--rude, uncouth and evidently of few
words. But, as with the speech of savages, these words were doubtless
packed with meaning, whole sentences and paragraphs in themselves, of
hard and practical import. Now and then the scarlet crown appeared at
the entrance of the dark wigwam. Any lurking foe would be espied from
there. Probably not a twig moved below but it was noticed.

While the robin and the bluebird have come to wear a half domestic
look, the woodpecker is the untutored savage still. As an Indian
remains an Indian, a woodpecker remains a woodpecker. When he comes to
the orchard he is an interloper from the forest. He carries the stamp
of the wilderness with him. Defiance is in the poise of his head; his
attitude is a challenge.

The life of owls and hawks is completely _savage_--a fierce,
carnivorous, terrible existence which no circumstance can affect.
Regarding their young with solemn ferocity, their fierce natures are
not to be modified or softened in the least. A little red owl having
her nest in the heart of a weeping willow, lived so secluded a life her
presence was hardly suspected till she was discovered by the smaller
birds dozing in a cedar. Some days later she appeared at dusk with four
young owls, which she fed on large beetles. The owlets remained perched
in a line on the fence while the old bird in ghostly silence departed
into the night in search of food. It was wonderful to see what excess
of dignity and ferocity was expressed in the personality of these
little birds. As well have expected an Iroquois brave to ask for
quarter. Approach them and they were on the defensive with all the
tricks of appearance--staring eyes, snapping bill and uncanny wavering
motion of the head. Like some phantom creature, the old bird came and
went, leaping noiselessly into the darkness and reappearing as by
magic.

The owlets took their beetles with avidity, swallowing them whole and
gulping and gagging in the process in a manner indicative of discomfit
rather than any satisfaction over the meal. Once the mother brought
what in the darkness appeared to be a small mouse, and this too was
swallowed by one little owl, but only after heroic and protracted
efforts.

It was no great matter on the following day to gain the confidence of
the young owls to a slight degree. But food was the only bond of
affinity. So long as I fed them they were content to perch on my
finger, fierce and solemn little ruffians, and devour bits of raw meat.
Their manners remained sullen and forbidding, though they never refused
to eat. Soon they lost even this slight contact with our world and
disappeared into their own--the nocturnal and barbarous world of the
owl.

Every year there is fresh evidence that the course of true love runs
far from smoothly with the birds. A pair of yellow-throated vireos
built no less than three nests one season and only succeeded in
occupying the last. There were two suitors for the affection of the
female, and they fought continually. The rejected lover harassed the
pair while at work gathering material, and that he twice stole a march
on them and actually tore down the nest appears from circumstantial
evidence.

Great secrecy was observed in constructing the third nest, and the
rejected one no longer harassed them. Either he had transferred his
affections or been fairly vanquished. Life was strenuous and
impassioned with these little birds, but see what constancy and
perseverance! Fancy having two houses torn down, after completing them
with your own hands, and having the courage to build still a third!
There is something of the pioneer and frontiersman in this. The
offspring of this pair were the children of vigorous and romantic
times, and should have inherited some heroic traits.

Even if all goes well otherwise, the sanctity of the nest is liable to
be profaned by the cowbird. This spring was an unusually favorable one
for them. I noticed the least flycatcher and the Maryland yellow-throat
mothering young cowbirds, and many vireos and warblers so engaged. It
is a wary caution that leads the cowbird to choose the smaller birds
for her victims.

It would be hard to say which of all the foster-mothers is the more
solicitous of her charge. Now it appears to be the redeye, and again
the chipping-sparrow. All alike are bent on bringing the birdling to
maturity as though it were of first importance. _That_ cowbird shall
thrive though the heavens fall. The attention seems to be in proportion
to the egregious demands of the foundling. Here at least is a waif well
cared for, an upstart that takes precedence over the true and lawful
heirs. Another year this same adventuress will invade the nests of her
adopted sisters.

The yellow warbler is perhaps the oftenest chosen. Accessible and
easily found, the nest is a beautiful cup-shaped structure lodged in
the fork of a fruit tree, with perchance a spray of blossoms just over
it--a house of silk, a satin bower. How awkward and uncouth must the
cowbird appear squatting on this fragile silken thing to lay her eggs!
Doubtless she watches the yellow bird stripping the dry grass stems and
gathering the pappus of last year's cattails; squats low in the grass
and looks all unconcerned while she marks the tree to which the fluffy
material is carried, and bides her time till the nest is ready. Strange
that she should never discover in herself the home-making instinct, for
even nomads have their tents. Stranger still she should never once wish
to undertake the duties of motherhood.

For a time, perhaps, the young cowbird is influenced by the habit of
the bird that happens to mother it, whether this be a ground-sparrow or
a tree-loving flycatcher. But it grows up a cowbird with all the
inheritance of that peculiar tribe, and its brief contact with a
superior race leaves no impress upon it.

In spite of cowbirds and the exigencies of life the woods are full of
young birds, their tails not yet grown. This is their childhood--a
brief one--as the days in the nest were their infancy. They are
exacting children, yet they do not clamor to be amused, but only to be
fed. I have seen a young chipping-sparrow, its tail half grown, showing
how recently it was from the nest, pick up a straw and carry it about.
So early does the maternal instinct show itself. This straw was its
doll-baby, the only plaything it could know, and this its solemn play.
There is a mild and innocent expression about young birds, as there is
in the faces of children, apparent to a keen vision only. They have yet
to be hardened by experience and vicissitude. The countenances of the
old take on an astute and alert expression. These young black-and-white
creepers and chestnut warblers, now shifting for themselves for the
first time, come about with gentle confidence. They creep and flit
through the trees, coming nearer and nearer, until you look directly
into their small innocent faces and could put your hand upon them. Then
as it would seem they were about to descend like blessings upon your
head, they withdraw and recede from view into the wilderness of leaves
where only your thoughts may follow them.



SONGS OF THE WOODS


We are drawn ever by the voices of birds. Even such as might be called
monotonous and unmelodious are none the less significant and welcome.
The fine lisping notes of warblers, as they industriously hunt for
their food, seem expressive of the contentment of their minds. All over
the hemlock swamp I hear the voices of black-throated green warblers.
Not one may appear in view, but for hours together their musical
conversation continues in the treetops. From somewhere in the branches
above comes the call of a nuthatch, his speech wholly dissimilar from
the rest, as if he might be an inhabitant of a very different world.
Almost in the ear sounds the thin wiry note of a black-and-white
creeper, as he winds around the trunk of a pine and approaches with his
accustomed sociability. High above the others, the trill of the
pine-warbler rings clear and sweet--a more resonant instrument surely.
These voices all affect us agreeably, and bring us in immediate contact
with their world and with wood life. They do not touch our world,
however, nor set in motion the delicate mechanism of the emotions. But
let a bluebird pass overhead all unseen, warbling his celestial "Pure!
Pure! Pure!"--let that significant note fall on the ear and for reasons
unknown it sinks into the soul, into the abyss of _feeling_, and this
as mysteriously rises in a delicious flood to the surface. Whence has
the bluebird his power, that by the mere _quality_ of tone he can exert
this spell?

Some bird voices are so positive, so emphatically cheerful, that one
never hears them without feeling better for it. The chickadee in the
winter woods is an instance of this. If you feel dreary, _he_ does not.
Nothing can dampen his spirits. He hopped out of the nest a cheery
little chap, and it is never otherwise with him. In all his days he has
never had a regret, never transgressed any law, never been unhappy. The
voice of the chewink, too, is eminently sane, a mild, buoyant utterance
indicative of an even disposition. He is never more hopeful, nor less
so, but always exactly the same. Perhaps the birds have not what we
call _feeling_, but if not, why do they express themselves? What else
would prompt these songs? The clear sweet call of the bob-white is
full of hope, and there is a quality of tenderness in this voice. One
must believe it the outcome of the disposition and character of the
bird, of some refinement of feeling; just as the raucous call of the
English pheasant expresses grossness and density, and the quailing of
the hawk pure savagery.

If we may speak of the temperament of birds, the thrushes must be
accorded the religious temperament. They are the inspired singers;
their songs are eminently _sacred_ music. The woodthrush appears to be
actuated by other than merely commonplace and personal motives. Upon
him the forest has laid its spell, and he must deliver its message. He
flits about with a dignity befitting his high calling. There is no
abandon in his song; he does not sing about himself--has no moods--but
repeats his solemn chant. It breaks the stillness of the woods with a
sort of challenge to the gay fields beyond, like the call of the
muezzin from the minarets of the mosque--a summons to all twittering
sparrows and chattering squirrels to be silent and listen. That such
fervor, such solemnity and beauty of utterance should be unconscious
and unwitting seems incredible. Stand and listen to the hermit-thrush
and see if you can think idle thoughts. You must hear his message and
feel the spirit of his invocation--the voice of one crying in the
wilderness.

Why is the hermit moved to be thus didactic, while in the fields beyond
the field-sparrow lightly trills and the merry bobolink continually
bubbles over with song? Such merry jingles, such uncontrollable
outbursts of melody, such a rippling, bubbling medley as comes up from
the meadows, while the thrush solemnly intones within the twilight
shades of the woods! Surely in view of this we may speak of the
temperament and the personality of birds. If the bobolink's medley is
not evidence of a light heart, then are appearances deceptive indeed.
Care rests easily--if at all--upon his hopeful nature, but the burden
of his song is quite as well worth heeding as is that of the thrush.
One is lyric, the other didactic. The bobolink communicates his joyous
and irrepressible spirits, as the thrush his serene exaltation. It is
certain the wood birds are of a different temperament from the field
birds. Either they are influenced to their prevailing moods by their
environments, or they are attracted thereto by their own
peculiarities, as men are drawn to solitude or society.

The hidden, the subtle, find voice in the veery. His is perhaps the
most spiritual strain of all, himself the high priest of the mystic
lore of the forest. Of the thrush family he is the consecrated member,
as the robin is the worldling among them. I believe there is no other
bird voice so mysterious; so impersonal is it, so spiritlike, it
appears to emanate from a world of higher motive than ours. In the
devotional strain of the hermit, the forest prayer is breathed on the
mountains. No hymn could be less impassioned, less material, more truly
_spiritual_ than the song of this thrush; it is nearest the speech of
angels. Of all instruments the organ and the harp are alone capable of
producing any such effect. On rare occasions I have heard the veery
indulge in a reverie never to be forgotten. It appeared to be wholly
inspired and original as though the bird were improvising like some Abt
Vogler at his organ, rearing a palace of music. The motive was complex
and involved, and sung so _pianissimo_ as to be just audible, like the
love-song of the catbird, a rapt utterance which admitted one to the
sacred arcana of Nature.

It is not unprecedented for a bird to depart thus from its usual song
and to improvise. You may detect even the jay in this mood, though it
is wholly imitative with him. The love-song of the catbird and the
autumn reverie of the song-sparrow are perhaps the best instances. I am
not yet wholly familiar with the songs of the robin. It appears he is
still studying music, and adds a phrase or varies a theme occasionally.
He is the most romantic of the thrushes; his song is more personal and
less spiritual than the others. When, in early spring, the robins sing
together at sundown, there is an exquisite tenderness in their notes
which accords with the sweet youthfulness of the year. It is later in
the season, when his mate sits upon the nest, that the robin rises to
the heights of lyric beauty and pours out his soul from the top of the
tallest maple in the swamp,--a brave sweet love-song, sung with dignity
and without hesitation, that all his world may hear.

At dawn he is moved a little more to the rapt and religious expression
of the thrushes. Something there is in the solemnity of that hour which
touches the hearts of all little birds. What it is we shall perhaps
never know; shall never know enough of bird life to understand what
emotions they may have which so powerfully sway them and become evident
in their voices. The evidence is there; the cause is to be inferred.
While the birds are everywhere more or less affected by the approaching
day and give voice to their feelings, there appear to be musical
centers in the bird world in which the expression is more concerted
than in other localities,--favored sections where this hymn to Apollo
is memorable indeed and hardly to be described. It is a great chant
with all its solemnity, all its impressiveness.

Beginning with the desultory calls of wood-pewees, it is taken up by
song-sparrows, robins and catbirds, dominated by the devotional song of
the woodthrush who appears to act as chorister. Birds seem to
congregate from near and far and to inspire one another to unusual
efforts. The volume and stateliness of this chant, so measured and
rhythmical, carries with it vibrations of power and cannot fail to
communicate its influence to the listener, be he bird or man. Here is a
multitude of birds actuated by a unity of purpose, impelled by a single
motive, and though every one sings his own song, the myriad voices
blend in one concordant whole. To arouse suddenly from a sound sleep
in the woods at dawn while this chant is in progress, is like awakening
in another sphere, where sings the choir celestial. We slip from sleep
into the heaven of song, and it requires another awakening to bring us
to consciousness of this actual world about us.

They are the troubadours these birds, the wanderers whose souls are in
their voices. What bold romantic singers are the cardinal and the
rose-breasted grosbeak--the lords of song! When the cardinal comes
North he appears to feel out of his element and modestly withdraws. But
in the South he dominates the swamp and adjoining cotton-fields with
his rollicking, melodious voice. A gay minstrel, he compels attention.
These voices of the cypress swamp are clear and bright in contrast with
their dismal surroundings. The bell-like note of the tufted titmouse in
the treetops, and the brave, cheery song of the Carolina wren lighten
those fearsome shades. The wren carries his sunshine with him. There is
no minor in his song; he is never discouraged, any more than the
chickadee. Day after day that voice rings true--all's well with the
world. Brave voices singing in the wilderness, they lighten vaster
shades than any they know of, sound their note of courage and
well-being for other ears than theirs. What blessed transformation from
the songless ages--from that slimy reptilian world where was no music,
no song--to this unpaid minstrelsy of the woods and fields! They have
served us these many years--the sweet singers, the true birds of
paradise, with power to lift us from our dull, unmelodious thoughts
into their harmonious world.

As I was following the course of a mountain stream through the leafless
woods early in April, the silence was broken by a strange musical
alarm. It was the Louisiana water-thrush, but might have been the pipes
of Pan, so wild and woodland was it. The first notes were high and
startlingly loud and clear, while the song descended the scale and
became softer and softer till it died away. This is one of the bird
voices that are untamed, that seem to belong to impersonal Nature. It
is wholly savage--a piece of the wilderness, untouched by the presence
of man. These voices do not strike the human and sympathetic chords,
but ally one with the wilderness. Such are the cry of the loon, the
melody of the ruby kinglet and the song of the winter wren. The
kinglet's song has a cadence unlike any other, reminding one of water
murmuring underground, and for some reason a classic suggestion, as of
faun and satyr. It is more truly _sylvan_ than any other--sylvan in the
old Greek sense, so elusive and shy it is, so mysterious.

Such voices give no evidence of self-consciousness; they are as
impersonal as the winds or as the murmuring stream. But with the
catbird, the thrasher and the mocking-bird, pre-eminently vocalists,
there is a set and declamatory method which has the appearance of
affectation. Their songs are brilliant and elaborately phrased, but
they lack spontaneity, and in listening to them one wishes they had put
their powers to a different use. The thrasher is particularly
self-conscious and stagey, and yet he has a glorious voice. No bird has
a finer _quality_ of tone than he shows in some of his notes--clear,
mellow, vibratory as in the voices of really great tenors. It is that
quality which Nature alone supplies and no cultivation nor perfection
of method can give. When he speaks to his mate in an undertone his
voice would melt a heart of stone. There is a time, however, when the
catbird rises above any suspicion of self-consciousness and is
transported, and the listener with him, in a reverie of exceeding
beauty. It is a wondrous love-song, an incomparable madrigal, blending
with the morning sunshine and the first green leaves of the alders,
soft and low as faint murmurings of a stream, a fluid melody uttered
for chosen ears.

All too soon the only bird notes are those of the redeye and the pewee.
For music we have the tree-toads and cicada. The sounds of this season
are rhythmic and vibratory--virile songs of the year's manhood--the
mature year, lusty and vigorous. But how soon they dwindle and wane,
despite this sonorous protestation, grow silent and slip into the sear
and yellow, and thence into the leafless, the glittering, the sublime
aspects of winter! The last of September brings with it just a reminder
of the sweet and winsome sounds of spring. At this season the
song-sparrow indulges in a wonderfully ecstatic reverie, a bit of wild
melody charged with feeling as of some larger consciousness, some
tribal memories of that musical race, now finding voice in the waning
year. So continuous and varied is the theme, and withal so complex and
involved as compared with his usual simple and positive lay, that one
must look at him twice to make sure it is he, and not some unknown
minstrel from a distant shore.

Insects are the autumn singers and take the place of birds and frogs.
The crickets are as musical in their way as the thrush family, though
provided with but indifferent instruments. When you consider that these
crickets and locusts _will_ express themselves--will fill the day with
song--though they are without vocal organs and must perforce do with
legs and wings instead, you must respect them as musicians. It is a
distinctly aboriginal music as compared with that of the birds, as
tom-toms and pipes are to violins and cellos. And yet it is rhythmic
withal and not wanting in sweetness. Contrast these merry crickets with
the silent spider. There is no song in the annals of her race. She is
unsocial and unmusical like the savage birds of prey. Yet before bees
and birds had appeared on the earth there were crickets chirping.
Theirs is the most ancient chant of the world--the Song of Sex.

Autumn nights are melodious with a voice, which in the distance is so
like that of the hyla of early spring, though softer and more
throbbing, that it is often mistaken for a kind of tree-toad. Heard
near at hand it is singularly clear and almost bell-like, though
ventriloquial in its elusiveness and difficult to locate, for as you
approach, it ceases and is taken up by another a short distance away.
Even when standing directly in front of it, it appears to come from
several directions. It was only after prowling the woods with a lantern
that I discovered the identity of the sweet singer, a small insect of a
pale green hue, not over an inch in length, looking like a sort of
locust, though classed with the crickets. The translucent wings are of
a delicate ivory-white and the antennæ very long.

This cricket was hanging to the edge of a grape leaf when the rays of
the lantern fell upon him. He perhaps took it for moonlight, for on a
sudden the wings were erected until at right angles to the body, and
then, as it were automatically, and with the precision of a pendulum,
they moved to and fro, partly crossing their bases and thus scraping
the veins of the middle portion--and the mysterious singer of the night
stood revealed.

The quality of the tone--the timbre--suggests the sound made by rubbing
the rim of a glass bowl, the horny plate of the wing giving it great
resonance. It appears to be pitched to A below middle C, though some
may be A sharp or even B. The overtones make it difficult to determine
the pitch. The chirping keeps up a good part of the night, and in the
wee small hours takes on an uncertain quaver, as if the little singer
had fallen asleep and were droning drowsily in its slumbers.

An insect which may be the same one--certainly an allied species--has a
day-song somewhat different from this song of the night, a shrilling in
place of a chirp. This is made by elevating the wings in the same
manner as at night, but instead of rubbing them one across the other in
regular time, they are rapidly and continuously vibrated like an
electric bell. The rapidity of the vibration raises the pitch, though
the quality of the tone is but little different.

There is in this day-song no suggestion of the blistering, feverish
shrill of the dog-day cicada, but a far-off dreamy sound. A little
before sunset it gradually gives way to that of the night. Day
inevitably inspires one song and night another, as if these reacted to
bring out two sets of emotions. And yet there is but one theme: the
minstrels sing always of that, but serenade the fair one after one
fashion by day and more serenely by the light of the stars. She, having
apparently no ears, hears none the less, and perhaps detects variations
in this monotonous ditty and even distinguishes the fine quality of
some particular voice--some clearness of tone, some pathetic _tremulo_
indicative of a cricket's feelings. For is not this a song-festival of
all the grasshoppers? I noticed a common short-horned grasshopper
stridulating in the sunshine, which he did by taking short flights and
rapidly opening and shutting his wings like an accordion. This produced
a series of dry, crackling sounds as the wing was scraped against the
wing-cover. After thus exhibiting his powers, a female at length came
from some little distance and lit beside him, as much as to say, "If
you can sing like that I am yours forevermore."

One feels some sympathy with these sweet singers of the fields in
knowing what a little life is theirs, how short is the span. For the
most part they have but a few months to sport in the sunshine. This
epithalamium is at the same time a requiem. In October it rises, a
universal threnody, the death-song of the insects. Over all the land,
wasps and bees and butterflies fall like leaves. Death overtakes them
on the wing. They lie down to sleep, like travelers lost in the snow.



WILD GARDENS


Improvement easily becomes an affectation, from which all healthy
natures suffer periodic reactions that take them to the mountains and
the forest, to those primeval estates loved of wild bees, of the
phoebe and the wren. One feels a sympathy with those renegade plants
known as garden escapes--star of Bethlehem, bouncing-bet, and the
rest--which have run away from the garden for the freedom of the woods
and highways. The conventionalities of spade and hoe are odious to
them. They wander far from the assemblage of the elect; they will live
wild and free, these Philistines, following the open road wherever it
may lead, with a sort of tramp instinct. Even the staid and domestic
apple will break away from the fold to seek the unregenerate society of
the pastures.

The hemlock woods, the meadow and the bog are wild gardens which
require no cultivating themselves, but only a certain cultivation and
appreciation in us, which they repay with gentle and unfailing
interest year after year. What we get from them will depend on what we
take to them.

Flowers are nothing away from their haunts. We must have the field in
which the clover blossomed--bees and all, the cranberry-bog, the mossy
bank of the violet, the white birch on which the polyporus grew. Take,
for example, the clintonia, solitary amidst fallen spruce logs on the
mountain slope. Imagine it transferred to a trim garden! If you have
really seen that flower of the solitudes, you have seen the mossy rock
overhanging it, the spruce cones lying thick about; sniffed the balsam
and heard the veery on the mountain. Or consider this mountain sheep
pasture with its clumps of stunted spruce and balsam, its scattered
boulders and patches of sensitive fern, its reddening sorrel and
running cinquefoil; bluets lie over the ground like a light fall of
snow; pasture stones are incrusted with parmelias and set in a frame of
hair-cap moss and reindeer lichens, incomparable mosaics; wild
strawberries nestle among dainty speedwells, half hidden under the bent
grass. It is a whole, an homogeneous piece of work, like a tapestry.
There is not a bog-rush nor a buttercup to be spared.

From the first fragrant spicebush to the last witch-hazel, no
cultivated shrub is to be compared with them, for the virtue of the
wild is not to be transplanted and is never imprisoned in flower-beds.
These shrubs of the pasture have a personality derived from immemorial
contact with the virgin and uncultivated soil. They have been nourished
by the very juices of earth and by the bone and sinew of the mountains.
If you would have the barberry, you must move the pasture itself. It is
of wild gardens solely, an untamed and untamable beauty. And so it is
with the dogwood, for what is this but sunshine in the May woods--rifts
of light breaking here and there through the overarching green of oak
and tulip trees? It were as easy to catch sunbeams as to carry this
away.

The mountain is the mother of these wild gardens; a vigorous dame to
bring forth so gentle a brood--as the slopes of Vesuvius produce a
mellow wine which has taken only a kindly warmth from the raging heart
of the volcano. All her fairest virtues have blossomed in her children;
her graces would remain unsuspected but for them. Let the gods but
fling down a bit of rock anywhere and presently, after a few ages, it
shall dissolve into violets and anemones. Grind it to powder by the
wayside and you have only made it into thistles and burdock; scatter it
over the fields and it becomes daisies and sunflowers.

Imperceptibly, granite melts at its outer edge into a fringe of
dicksonia and wild rose. Limestone will bring forth a richer garden
than sandstone, as though, like the rock-maple, it had more sweetness
in its veins than another. Some of the most delightful gardens arise
from disintegrating basalt. Perchance this rock retains a little of its
old volcanic heat and has more of the finer graces in its make-up than
that which was coldly laid down under water. Fiery lava, tempered and
mollified by Time, has become kindly and amenable. Where was only
desolation, after countless days the dicentra hangs out its white flags
in truce to the warring elements. The sand hillocks of the terminal
moraine are the chosen land of mountain laurel, and there are untold
acres where this constitutes almost the sole undergrowth. What a
hanging garden, when, on a level with the eye, one continuous bloom
spreads through the twilight of the woods--the single buds like
miniature urns of rose quartz so delicately are they sculptured,--here
a warm rosy tint and there a ghostly pallid blossom. This soil, the
detritus of glacial torrents, despite its many washings, has not given
up all its gold, but is rich in arbutus and in _pedata_ violets. It is,
after all, granite, the mother-lode of the earth; granite after endless
transmutations but still retaining some of its virtues.

To the first flowers belongs a charm, the most exquisite of any,
something tender and appealing, as though they enshrined the fairest
virtues of the year--its modesty, its purity, its sweetness--in
violets, anemones and bloodroot. This charm, so elusive, has never been
described, nor shall be indeed. It is like music which is a language in
itself and will bear no translation. The bee must approach these with
some humility and more gentleness than is shown to the sturdy blossoms
of summer. They are eminently the "gentle race" of flowers, born in the
enchanted time.

We go with hungry eyes at this season. By midsummer we have been well
feasted and no longer see individual blossoms so much as masses of
bloom. Bloodroot and hepatica are like the dewdrops of early morning
which disappear before the sun. They can be found just once in a
year; after that they will not appear the same. It is cheering to
come upon such a fair company of spring beauty where but a few days
since were none; to enter a stretch of woodland and find it populous
with these friends of a lifetime, now returned to their old haunts. We
do not commonly reflect that they have been under the snow all the
while. Scattered among them, the anemones lie in drifts, like a late
flurry of snow and quite as evanescent, lingering in the shadows only.
These are the delicate children of April; May is their foster-mother.
Contact with them is like the glimpse of a _spirituelle_ face. But the
adder's-tongue which nestles by the brook has more fire in its veins
than the rest. Its spotted leaves give it an almost feline beauty as it
droops with the southern languor of the lily.

[Illustration: WILD GARDENS COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

Serenity dwells with the woodland flowers. There is about them some
subtle refinement and exclusiveness. They appear fit symbols of
lowliness and modesty. A strip of woodland beside the turnpike is like
an ancient chapel left amid the din and hubbub of city streets. The
sturdier plants, both coarse and gay, halt at the edge of the wood.
Within, the light is subdued; nothing obtrudes upon the eye or ear. It
is obvious that the cathedral had its origin in the forest. What a fair
and devout congregation has jack-in-the-pulpit, where the Canada violet
stands side by side with the medeola and the painted trillium. The
medeola declines its unfertilized flower, so that its maiden life is
hid from view beneath the tri-leaved canopy, and only in its mature and
matronly days does it begin to ascend and take a position where the
seed shall crown the plant and be in evidence. From what insect
despoiler is this shy virgin so carefully hid?

It seems as if the light that penetrates these woods has undergone a
change, or been deprived of some of its rays, so that the wood flowers
are nourished by a finer food than the rest, as with ambrosia. It is
perhaps the subdued light which inspires a certain solemn and hymn-like
quality in the notes of wood birds, as in the thrushes and the
altogether didactic tone of the redeye. There is here none of that
self-assertiveness among the flowers that is to be observed among
certain groups of plants; the competitive spirit is lacking.
Solomon's-seal, bellworts and twisted-stalk, like medeola, are rather
at pains to conceal themselves. There is no self-advertising among
them. What could be more unassuming than goldthread and wood-sorrel?
They live close to the soil of which they are the offspring--a rich,
odorous soil, black with the accumulated nutriment of centuries. He
must be in hot haste indeed who treads on a patch of mountain
wood-sorrel, such is its mute, appealing beauty. It holds the eye and
stays the foot of every saunterer in the woods.

But follow the by-roads in early summer and you shall have very
different company. It is here you will find the sturdy travelers, who
will go the length of any road in all weathers; and there are none more
cheerful and uncomplaining. They have no fault to find; the world suits
them very well. You must be prepared to greet mullein and burdock as
equals. Here on the road they are as good as any; they hobnob with the
rose. Wild carrot borders the dusty lanes with a fringe of lacework--a
real lace from the deft hand of Nature. There is no brighter gold than
the St.-John's-wort, albeit it will not pass current in the town.

The winds sow the fairest hedge by the roadside--the winds and the
birds; it seems that they take kindly to these wayfarers. They are the
good fairies who plant elder and blackberry and scatter the wild rose.
Timothy and redtop and witch-grass are the very children of Æolus. The
pollen-bearing wind mothers the grass and plantain; the seed-carrying
wind distributes the thistle and willow. Birds are very willing to
carry cherry-pits provided they may have the cherry for their trouble.

The breeze comes laden with thistle-down, such fragile craft embark on
these untried seas with all sails set. The story of such a seed would
read like a fairy tale. Has not the wind whispered daily to it as its
silken sail was spread? And the seed has tugged at its moorings like
any boat till these were loosed and she was off, beating in and out
among the high blueberries and shadbushes of the pastures, at last
sailing clear of all such reefs and ascending in air to drift out into
the open. How it rises and falls on the currents, like a ship riding
the long swells of the sea; again it drives free before the wind to
settle down at last in some pasture. If, perchance, such a seed fall on
stony ground it is no great matter. The marvelous silken sail will now
fall away, for the craft has reached port, no more forever to sail
these seas. On occasion one is caught in a spider's web, whereupon the
spider comes out to see what luck. Evidently all is not fish that comes
to her net. But the self-reliant crane's bill looks neither to bird nor
beast nor again to the winds of heaven, for it does its own planting,
flinging the seeds away with almost an intelligent and conscious
action.

This relation between the wind and the plants of the field is an
agreeable stimulus to the imagination, in a matter-of-fact day when
fairies are not so common as of old. Consider how the breezes have
blown the pollen of the pine and later are to help carry the seed. They
thus serve the trees of the forest and the grass of the prairie. These
same winds urge the fruit that it should leave the parent tree. "Come,
follow us!" say they, and first gently draw, then roughly compel, till
the apple falls. They whisper all through the summer to the leaves so
green, and at length, on October days, draw them irresistibly.

Verily of wild gardens there is no end; our estates are without number.
But among them all the mountain is unique, for to ascend is like going
northward, and at the same time to reverse the season. One, which I
climbed the middle of June, is little more than four thousand feet, and
yet, whereas in the valley there were daisies and wild carrot, on the
summit the wild red cherry was just in bloom. In that short distance
one walked upward--or rather backward--from the middle of June to late
April. Another four thousand feet would have carried one back into the
depths of winter. The seasons are thus with us throughout the summer;
we have only to go up in the air after them.

Warblers were nesting on the mountain slopes which would otherwise
hardly have been found at that season this side of Canada, such as the
black-throated blue, the magnolia and myrtle. The winter wren was
fairly abundant, and on the very summit a snowbird had her nest. About
half way up, the butternuts of the ravine gave way to spruce and
balsam. As the ascent continued, mountain-maple and mountain-ash
suggested higher latitudes. But what impressed one most was the subtle
recession to the early year. The seasons having fairly begun to
revolve, it was as though some power were slowly turning them back
again.

Some hundred feet or more up the face of an overhanging cliff, a bower
of columbines hung out into the grim ravine. They were clustered just
under the brink, gems of the first water in a rude setting. The red
blossoms glowed faintly against the bald cliff like rubies set in the
walls of a rock temple. From under the roots of the clinging spruce a
small stream slid like molten glass over the escarpment above and burst
into spray, gently undulating like a fine veil, as it descended to the
pool below with the dominant and strenuous song of the waterfall.

Probably honey bees do not leave their mountain meadows for this dim
twilight region, though they may possibly become acquainted with these
hanging gardens on their way to some bee-tree in the woods. It is left
to the wandering bumblebee to fertilize most woodland flowers, and in
the case of the columbine, perhaps to the humming-bird. On the same
cliff were tufts of the alpine woodsia and dense patches of
rock-brake--but these stand in no need of the bee.

When, at some three thousand feet, wood-anemones were blooming, summer
slipped gently away and April took its place. It seemed quite natural
then to find adder's-tongue and to see wake-robins and bunchberry
everywhere. The last part of the ascent might have been through a
swamp, so strong was the suggestion of swamp life. Spagnum grew in
places along the trail, and the fern moss was in evidence on the rocks.
False hellebore was abundant, and on the very top stood a poison
sumac--a typical bog plant. Yet the summit was rocky and covered for
the most part with stunted balsam as thickly matted together as a
hedge. The mountain pokes its cold head up into the clouds, and is
continually refreshed by the dews of heaven. In some unaccountable
manner the swamp plants, as if guided by instinct, ascend and find
their natural environment at the top.

When I descended, it was to leave spring behind with every step, not
again to meet her in that year.



WEEDS


A strange analogy exists between plant life and some aspects of human
life. The same stern necessity of the survival of the fittest--physical
in one, and in the other mental and spiritual--seems to inhere in both.
Among the weeds, competition is the dominant note, as it is in our
world. In some higher circles it is sounded faintly, while untold
legions of the more delicate plants--like sensitive natures--are driven
to the wall, unequal to the struggle.

There are weeds whose ways suggest the arrogant monopoly, and others
which recall the parasites of society. The dodder fastens upon its
victim and the bindweed throttles the innocent. To withstand the severe
competition of pigweed and ragweed, the garden patch requires your
energy, plus its own; and the more war is waged upon these, the more
does it seem to encourage the purslane, which thrives like a freebooter
in this sort of warfare.

One can imagine no more irrepressible rabble than these weeds of the
garden. They seem possessed almost of a conscious life, and to push and
shove and scramble for place like a hard-headed, thick-skinned,
piratical crew. Many of them are immigrants, the riffraff of Europe,
who have found their way to our shores, some to become good citizens,
and others to remain pestilent anarchists, opposed to the law and order
of the kitchen-garden and rebelling against all government by the hoe.
Yet how happy are the bob-whites and the tree-sparrows for the poor
seeds of the ragweed when the snow lies deep. They repair to these as
to an unfailing larder, which may lie between them and starvation at
such times. Through some kind providence, the seeds remain into the
winter to be shaken down upon the snow. The obnoxious weed of summer
rises to the dignity of usefulness and becomes a food plant--grain and
corn to the hungry birds.

There are weeds and there are weeds. So much depends upon the point of
view; is it a weed on the lawn, or is the lawn but a background for the
dandelions which star the grass? What bright day-stars are these which
beam upon us from the orchards and by-roads with cheerful golden
radiance! And when these shining stars have grown dim and faded from
their firmament of green, there appear in their place such white
wraiths of their former selves as resemble the moon seen by the light
of day. They are now so many extinct suns, so many ghosts of the
dandelions, soon dissolving into still less substantial state, to be
spirited away on the winds.

During the summer the common dandelions gradually disappear, and at
length the fall dandelions suddenly spring into prominence, poking
their flower-heads up on long scapes. With commendable thrift these are
closed every night, that a little pollen may not be wet by the dew.
These fall flowers appear to be more numerous even than the early
species. They can sustain themselves in tall grass where the latter
could not, keeping their flower-heads always floating on the rising
tide of green. You may see fields of red clover mixed with dandelions,
while the Virginia creeper lies in scarlet splendor along stone walls,
and goldenrod and asters are massed on the borders--Elysian fields
surely. The play of light and color is a kind of music, and stimulates
one to some inner hearing. The deaf could hear this. And were the
blind to listen to the crickets' reverie, they might see these fields.

Is there anywhere a more audacious beauty than the pokeweed in autumn?
It flaunts itself in your face--one of the respectable _bourgeoisie_ of
weeds, now suddenly arrayed in this regal fashion and mocking you with
its splendid beauty. A weed! Why are not roses weeds as they stand all
forlorn before this voluptuous child of the people? Out of the plebeian
rabble there comes here and there such a superb creature as this.

Consider the milkweeds,--a family of beauties. Something luxuriant and
sensuous there is in their ample proportions. They have an excessive
health, an exuberance of vitality; a full-blooded race, if you so much
as break a leaf from one it bleeds like a wounded creature. From the
mud, the swamp-milkweed has derived some rich hue, while the
butterfly-weed in the pasture has caught the very sunshine itself and
become a living flame. The great pod of the milkweed is the luxuriant
fruit of this fine plant, as tropical in appearance as any mango or
cocoa bean. When it is ripe, in place of a luscious flavor, it
discloses a mass of finest silk, a fluffy ball. Who would guess the
treasure within these grotesque pods with their long beaks, their
spines and wrinkles? They are like curious old junks with a cargo of
rich stuffs of the East, which children--young pirates that they
are--overhaul on the high seas of the pasture and despoil of their
treasure.

It is the sturdy character, if nothing more, of some weeds which
constitutes their charm, for health is beautiful everywhere. Ironweed
and joepye-weed are such lusty, vigorous plants, and burdock and
jimson-weed. The earth _shall_ nourish them; they push themselves to
the front; they do not live by any one's favor. How can the
impoverished dust of the roadside sustain these burdocks with their
incredible leaves? The richest swamp produces no such extravagant
foliage. As for the ironweed, it clothes the pastures with a royal
purple, so rich a hue it compels the eye, and is a kind of stimulant.
One may become mildly intoxicated with such color.

In August the high-roads and by-roads are painted--stripes of gamboge
and patches of delicate blue--and all because of some weeds. It would
be worth while riding through the country at this season, if for no
other reason than this. Vivid streaks of tansy stretch in narrow lines
for rods together. Where the road skirts a pond, the eye is refreshed
by the pickerel-weed, resting like aureoles above the surface of the
water. In the fields beyond is the celestial blue of the chicory--so
common a weed, so divine a hue; while everywhere a fringe of wild
carrot trails in the dust, the lace border of that gorgeous mantle.
Such laces and jewels nature provides if you are but rich enough in
thought to possess them.

In the pastures mullein and thistle grow side by side, two pronounced
personalities, as different as it is possible to be, yet nourished by
the same soil and under the same conditions. The mullein seems to
invite you to take hold of its leaves, while the thistle as plainly
says, Hands off! They suggest similar types of people, one bristling
and repellent, the other suave and genial. These great flannel leaves
of the mullein are caressing and soft to the touch. Contact with them
is agreeable, well nigh soothing. If, perchance, your feelings have
been ruffled by a bellicose thistle, address yourself to the tender
young leaves of the mullein and you shall feel their soothing effect.

The perfume of the Canada thistle is equal to that of most wild flowers
and superior to many. It is wholly refined, with no taint of
coarseness. With what vulgar effrontery a cheap perfume assails the
nose. But here is a despised thistle which brings itself to notice by
an influence not plebeian but patrician. You might pass this thistle
day in and day out and never suspect it had any such virtue, till you
had gone out of your way to cultivate a closer acquaintance. Call it a
weed if you will, it has an individuality that separates it from other
common plants, and by reason of which it commands attention.

Floating in nebulous masses about the blackberry thicket, the
delicately conspicuous hue of the fireweed catches the eye. If you will
but watch the slender pods you may now and again see one suddenly open
and its four walls silently withdraw, while there emerges from the
interior a phantom shape, the filmy mass of pappus-down with rows of
golden seeds attached. This white cloud of silk gradually takes shape,
as the mist might rise from a mountain lake, lingers a moment, and then
sails away on a passing breeze--ethereal still as the mist--growing
less and less, and vanishing at length, as if resolved again into the
invisible.

Old gravelly roads, which meander across the pasture and seem destitute
of any special beauty, are often adorned from end to end with the
round-leaved spurge, of richest hue, varying from maroon to plum color.
This little weed is so unpretentious, so sincerely humble and
unassuming, that probably very few ever see it or are aware of its
existence. It lies prone upon the earth, where, once it attracts the
attention, it is seen to be a beautiful embroidery on the bare ground.
Here grows the poverty-grass which on misty days is covered with
dewdrops--incrusted with jewels--while more pretentious plants are not
decked in any such beautiful array. The mist descends upon the poorest
of them all, and makes that resplendent.

In the society of weeds there is this tendency to segregate, quite as
in human society. Even the beach has its clique, a curious throng quite
distinct from any of the fields, which defy the encroachment of the
waves. About these coarse weeds of the beach is something peculiarly in
keeping with their environment. The strange spiny fruit of the orache
suggest sculpins, or some sea-shells, while the innumerable erect stems
of the spreading house-leek resemble the backbone of fish. Carrying
with it its air-sacs and paraphernalia of the sea, the rockweed, which
is a "weed" of another world, grows as far up on the land as it can go,
while the weeds of the beach approach the water as near as they dare.
Here is the frontier, the edge of their world, and one and all would
scramble over the border could they sustain life on the other side.



INSECT LORE


Apis the bee, Vespa the wasp, and Arachne the spider--these might
properly figure in many a saga. Mighty are the works of the tribes of
Apis, while Bombus the bumblebee befriends the pale flowers of the
forest as do the winds the pine. Arachne beguiles the fly, for she is a
very Medusa; the solitary wasp slays the Gorgon and lays her in the
tomb she has prepared, rolling a stone over the entrance; lastly, from
the body of the spider springs the race of wasps, like warriors from
dragons' teeth in the days of Jason.

From the first flowering shrubs to the last goldenrod there is the hum
of industry. The willows, on mild April days, resound with the roar of
insect traffic. The bees push in rudely among the bunches of stamens,
and the red anthers so neatly and compactly arranged are soon
disheveled, the filaments bent by the myriad insect legs which scramble
and kick through them. It is everywhere bustle and hurry; all are
wrought to a tense degree. Life is here at a white heat--purposeful,
Anglo-Saxon; yet it appears to move without friction. Occasionally a
bee visits the meek-looking pistillate shrub near by, which patiently
waits while the buzz and din continue uninterrupted across the path.

It is always a mystery just how the honey-bee transfers the pollen to
the pollen-basket--even in view of the explanation. It appears to be
scraped from one leg to the other, and gradually shifted from fore to
aft by a dexterous process until lodged in the proper place, the bee
remaining all the time on the wing so that the legs are moved with
perfect freedom. Finally it is stowed more neatly and compactly than
any pack-mule's load, and the panniers are good to see, rich and yellow
as pumpkins glistening in the corn field. Doubtless the bee is careful
to keep the balance and not put more in one basket than in the other.
Since pollen-grains are of distinct and definite shapes in different
plants, is it not possible that the insect, from its near point of
view, detects these differences, and in place of so much
indistinguishable dust, finds itself handling minute cubes, spheres and
variously shaped blocks?

How readily bees are apprised of the blossoming of any flower. On the
very instant the dwarf-sumacs open, the place hums with them. Solitary
bumblebees continually scout through the woods and discover when the
Indian-pipe, the shinleaf, the pipsissewa are in bloom. Only the queen
bumblebee can have any memory of these flowers, as the life of the
workers is but a season long. Probably they do not communicate the
news, but each hunts for itself. With the honey-bees, however, this is
the gossip of the hive as much as the state of the crops with farmers:
"Meadow sweet is open today!" "Clethra is in bloom!" "The first
goldenrod!" Imagine the news circulating like wildfire through the
hives. Honey-bees have little time or patience to hunt up solitary and
retiring flowers. They want masses of bloom, fields of blossom, having
a large work to do--a city to build, a host to feed.

The bumblebee is the good angel of the woodland flowers, the visiting
priest--or shall I say priestess--to all outlying parishes, calling at
every ledge and gorge and dell where is any colony of blossoms or a
lone settler or two. The bee discovers the pale pendent blossoms of the
checkerberry under the leaves and almost prone upon the ground. In
order to reach them it sometimes turns on its back upon the hemlock
needles as it inserts its tongue in the flower above. In winter when
you gather a checkerberry now and then in your walk you shall bestow a
thought upon the buzzing priest of Flora who solemnized these nuptials.
It visits every flower in the transparent groups of Indian-pipes which
push their way up through the leaf mould to stand like an assembly of
the pale-sheeted dead, and looks singularly rich and velvety against
these stems of alabaster. Here is a botanist who knows the flora well,
and takes a tithe from every blossom to which is brought a grain of
pollen--the marriage fee. It is hard to believe so willing an agent is
unaware of the service; that it fills an office which it does not
recognize, while we, the biographers, alone perceive the relation.

Tell me, is there not something heroic in the life of the queen
bumblebee? She awakens after her winter sleep, the sole survivor of her
race, and bravely goes forth to collect pollen, lay her eggs and become
the founder of a new race of workers. There is rude and virile romance
in the life of this bee with its flavor of the forest. She is the
queen-mother indeed, no mere figurehead, but strong, capable,
self-reliant. Think of her retiring under the moss and leaves at the
approach of winter, the last of her race; or, rather, do they all
resign themselves to a sleep from which she alone is to awaken. She
remains encircled by Cold--as Brunhilde was engirdled with Fire--till
the sun shall cross the magic line and awaken the sleeping Amazon.

Today I split open a dead twig of sumac in which the little
upholsterer-bee had laid her eggs. From the summit a well or shaft was
sunk some ten inches through the central pith. This I cautiously
descended by means of a jack-knife and found it partitioned into a
dozen cells, in each of which lay a pupa, the pallid sleepers like
mummies in their royal tombs awaiting a resurrection.

The cells were lined--upholstered--in silk and partitioned from each
other by walls of chips cemented together. In some cases the pupa was
being devoured by the minute larvæ of a chalcid fly, and in one cell
only the dried skin remained. For that pupa there was to be no
resurrection into the life of the bee, but as the cell was opened, out
stepped a tiny chalcid into the light of day, its dapper little person
shining blue-black and its minute wings of an iridescent green.

You may see many broken twigs of sumac, elder and blackberry,
perforated at the end in evidence that in the cells below are the larvæ
of a bee, or perhaps the pupæ wrapped in their transforming slumbers.
This sepulcher is sign to the chalcid fly as well. In one such that I
opened were several perfect bees, beautiful little green creatures.
Immediately they stepped out upon my hand and began dusting and
cleaning themselves, but appeared to be troubled by the brightness, and
eager to hide. When offered the open end of a tube, such as they had
recently come from, they seemed glad to enter. They were not yet fitted
for contact with the world of light and preferred to return to the
darkness and security of their cells. A spider had concealed herself in
a silken room at the mouth of one tube, perhaps seeking this privacy in
which to change her skin. When their time had come to emerge, the
inmates would naturally have walked into the spider's den, while the
light of day appeared beyond, but for a single instant, as a faint
glimmer which they were destined never to reach.

However, there is a Theseus for every monster. A spider was one day
spinning her web in an outer angle of the veranda, laying the first
strands, the scaffolding. Attaching one point she swung out on her line
and fixed a second, aided by the breeze. Without the wind she perhaps
could not have erected her scaffolding in that place. The morning
sunlight caught these first threads, stretched from post to beam, and
they gleamed like silver or spun glass. At length a wide space was to
be bridged and she swung free at the end of a long strand. The breeze
carried her to and fro, far out from under the roof, so that she
remained suspended in mid-air.

But other eyes were watching her at her work. As she swung thus,
self-possessed and at ease, suddenly a mud-dauber pounced upon her. The
silver strand parted in the sunlight, and the spider was carried to the
beam above, where the wasp apparently stung her several times. A moment
after she rose in air holding the large globular spider, now paralyzed
and inert, and sailed away over the treetops in the direction of her
nest. The victim was to be immured in a sarcophagus of mud together
with the egg of the wasp. When the egg hatched, the larva in this
tomb with the body of the spider would find such gruesome state
congenial enough--being of the wasps. In this case a spider the less
means a wasp the more.

[Illustration: INSECT LORE COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

Late one afternoon a spider was constructing her web. She already had
her first line stretched between two small shrubs. On this she crossed
and recrossed several times, each trip reeling out a new strand from
her spinnerets, until she had a stout cable from which the gossamer
structure was to depend. From an end of this she dropped to the ground
and fastened a thread, then ascended, traversed the cable and dropped
lines from the other end to the twigs beneath. All were remarkably taut
and firm. By crossing two she now established the center of the
web--not the geometric center--and from the overhead cable spun some
radii to this point and from this to the lower strand. In an incredibly
short time she had lines radiating in all directions from the center
like the spokes of a wheel.

She now fairly ran over these spokes paying out the strand as she laid
the spiral web upon the gleaming radii. Starting at the center she
traveled from left to right, passing the thread through the claw of
one of the last pair of legs. By this means it was held from her as far
as possible and quickly attached to each of the radii. A very short
time sufficed for her to complete this spiral of perhaps a foot in
diameter, and she had only to return over the ground with the final
thread, on which are strung the viscid drops.

She paused as if resting, and in that moment a Social wasp descended
like a fury and bore her to the ground. The wasp quickly rose holding
the spider in her embrace, and returning to the bush suspended herself
by one hind claw. Here she held the body of the spider with two pair of
legs, and turning it about, as though it were on a spit, bit off some
of the head parts with her strong jaws which worked like a pair of
shears. So near was I that I could see these jaws meet and sever the
thorax, which fell and glanced from a leaf a few inches below with the
faintest imaginable sound. The wasp then proceeded to tear open the
abdomen. The builder of gossamer bridges, who overcame space and flung
her nets to the breeze, was no more. I looked again at the unfinished
web and in it struggled a small fly.

In stretching the first strand the spider avails herself of the wind
to some extent. When crossing from one point to another it is by no
means necessary she should drop from a height equal to the distance to
be crossed; for if the wind is strong enough she has but to descend a
little way, and then, as it holds her out at right angles, she pays out
the line and so continues moving in mid-air. As soon as she comes in
contact with some object she at once attaches her thread. I have more
than once observed a spider drop a short distance when there was no
breeze to carry her, but by the movement of her body she imparted a
slight motion to the line and thus set herself to gyrating until she
finally swung across the intervening space.

The spinners of flat webs in the grass are associated with dog-days and
with foggy weather, as if they spread their tents only at such times to
fold them again and steal away with the appearance of the sun. As a
matter of fact these spiders work in clear weather and at different
hours of the day, but the web is so fine as to be next to invisible
unless covered with moisture, when it at once attracts the eye, like a
writing in invisible ink which becomes manifest only under the right
conditions.

There are other spiders which become evident only at the approach of
winter. It is something to the credit of these small spiders that,
being without wings, they should still aspire to fly; whereas the ants,
born with wings, are in haste to tear them off. The past year they were
so in evidence on the 11th of November that I shall henceforth
associate that day with the flight of the Erigone. The weather was
cool, but with a suggestion of Indian summer in the air. I first
noticed the spiders on top of a hill, for the bare twigs of sumacs were
streaming with gossamer threads which shone like silver. From time to
time little spiders descended from the upper regions and ran about over
my coat. One, which was spinning threads on my sleeve, finally ran out
upon my hand and, elevating its spinnerets, began paying out a line,
which I could see as I held it against the sun. When this had reached a
length of several feet the little spider was whisked off by the breeze
and carried away.

Toward sunset a delicate network of gossamer threads covered the open
pastures like a silver mesh in which the earth lay captive. These
minute spiders have a way at this time of allowing the strands to be
drawn from their spinnerets by the wind, until they carry sail enough
to be lifted off their feet. They fly away thus on the wings of the
winds, perhaps carried high above the earth by ascending currents. Lo,
the hegira of the spiders!

It would appear that the Solitary wasps are more ingenious and
self-reliant, and less governed by tradition, than the Social bees and
wasps; for I have seen a small black one which was unable to rise on
the wing with the large spider it was carrying, finally drag it up the
trunk of an oak to the height of seven feet and from that vantage fly
away. Such an one pulled a spider much larger than herself up on my
knee and left it there, paralyzed but alive, while she made
explorations, after which she returned and took it away. As I was
making some notes at the time with reference to wasps, the incident
made a pleasant impression, quite as though she had taken me into her
confidence and had gone out of her way to reveal some facts of her
life.

One day I encountered a sand-wasp which had just stung a wireworm and
was dragging it over the ground. The worm, which resembled a brown
twig, was three inches long and as large around as a slate-pencil,
while the wasp was not over an inch and a quarter in length and very
slender. Seizing the victim in her jaws and straddling it, the wasp
walked along in this uncomfortable fashion, over ground strewn with
pebbles and partly covered with brush. Difficulties were many, and she
was kept constantly pulling, tugging and boosting to get the worm
along.

At length she penetrated the brush and came out bearing the worm into
an open gravelly space. Here she turned off sharply for a distance of
two yards, and, after running nervously to and fro, stopped in front of
a small hole. She had been over an hour dragging the worm. During that
time one main direction had been followed, though never had she to my
knowledge left her burden and risen above the brush and trees to get
her bearings; yet she found her way unerringly, and only turned aside
because of the boulders and clumps of white birch stumps. The whole
distance was about forty feet in a straight line, but further as the
wasp had gone.

Backing into the hole, she seized the worm and attempted to drag it in
after her, but the entrance proved too small. She therefore came out
and began rapidly enlarging it by seizing bits of gravel with her jaws
and fore legs, rising in the air and carrying them off six or eight
inches. Again she entered, and this time was able to pull the worm in
after her. She remained three or four minutes in the hole, during which
time she was depositing her eggs, then her head reappeared at the
opening.

She now began filling in. Dropping two or more bits of gravel, she
would then turn her back and rapidly scratch in dirt with her fore
legs, evidently to fill up the interstices. Twice she took out a bit of
gravel and carried it away, precisely as a mason might throw aside a
stone that was not the right shape or size. As her head was thus
inserted in the hole a black ant approached and peered into the depths.
Suddenly the wasp turned and gave one look, whereupon the ant fled in
haste.

When the hole was filled to the brim she tamped it down with her head.
This occupied her some minutes and she appeared to take the utmost
care. Gravel was then brought and piled upon the spot until it exactly
resembled its surroundings. The stones carried varied in size from
those as large as a buckshot to some the size of a marrowfat pea. They
were lifted and carried seemingly without effort, and dropped almost
before one could see what she was about. Twenty minutes were consumed
in filling up the hole and restoring the surface.

On a sudden she vanished, and with her vanished the place itself where
she had been at work. It was as if a trap-door had closed, and no sign
was left. So carefully had she done her work and so closely imitated
the surroundings, like a miser burying his gold, it was only after
careful search I could again locate the spot.

Thus in the economy of Nature every insect appears to be food for some
other. On the leaves of the Virginia creeper you may usually find, in
early autumn, some caterpillars which have received the eggs of a small
chalcid fly. These caterpillars, otherwise so large and green and
awesome to the beholder, have become limp and lean and have an aged and
decrepit look. They hold feebly to the vine but no longer eat anything.
I brought home one of them and in a short time there emerged from its
body a great number of small white grubs, fifty or more by actual
count. Upon the back of their emaciated host they proceeded to spin
for themselves marvelous little cocoons of white silk which they did in
a very brief time. Moving their heads this way and that they spun the
fine threads about themselves until they were completely enveloped.
Here were a great number of little spinners, making for themselves
garments of silk, and at last spinning themselves out of sight. The
caterpillar now bristled with the small white cocoons which stood upon
end on its back, where they were attached, and almost hid it from view.

The wary caterpillar has many foes. If it escapes the hungry warblers
and vireos, there is still the army of goggle-eyed wasps and nervous
ichneumons to circumvent. Yet a prodigious number survive. Were it not
for their enemies they would overrun the earth. The butterflies
sporting in the sunshine, and the small moths flitting about the lamp,
have come through many perils, and may almost be said to have lived by
their wits, so astonishing are the ruses they have devised to deceive
their pursuers.



THE WAYS OF THE ANT


If you would see the ants to advantage--to your own, that is--you must
turn over a pasture stone under which one of the species of small
yellow ants has its nest. By thus gently removing the roof, if it is a
good-sized stone, the whole colony will be in view at once. The red-ant
hill presents difficulties. To dig into it or to pull it apart is quite
useless, as the earth falls in and nothing is to be seen but a
struggling heap of dusty and indignant ants. It rarely happens that
such a hill may be built around a small boulder. If this boulder is
suddenly and deftly removed, not dragged or rolled aside, but lifted
clear of the hill so that the sides of the nest may not be broken in, a
remarkable scene is disclosed.

I have found such an ant hill, and by removing the stone the household
was placed on exhibition--but not all its secrets revealed by any
means. From several large chambers, now roofless, galleries and
corridors radiated in all directions. The instant the stone was lifted
the ants swarmed from the galleries into these chambers, which were
packed with the large cocoons. There were thousands of pupæ, of a
delicate brown tint, looking wonderfully clean and fresh, but with such
celerity did the ants work that inside of ten minutes all were carried
from view.

Among the rest were perhaps a dozen young ants, the head and thorax
being white and the abdomen a pale mauve. These creatures moved feebly
about, taking no interest in the proceedings, and were for the most
part seized by the workers and conveyed into the galleries. Apparently
they were individuals that had just emerged from their pupa-cases.

Under another large stone were two very numerous colonies living side
by side, of different species. The nests were, of course, entirely
separate and under opposite ends of the stone. The smaller of the two
appeared to be stinging ants, for they clustered in great numbers over
their small pupæ, elevating their abdomens in a threatening manner like
so many diminutive scorpions. The other species were large and active
ants of a polished bronze hue. Their pupæ were naked, which gave the
nest the appearance of being filled with grains of rice.

These large ants set to work with frenzied activity and removed all of
their own pupæ. Then, and not until then, they swarmed over into the
adjoining nest and began carrying the cocoons of the small ants back
into their own nest. Now and then some small ant bolder than the rest
would resist, and an individual combat ensued which ended by the large
ant carrying off her small antagonist. There was, however, very little
resistance of this sort, and the pillage, if such it were, continued
until the remaining cocoons had all been carried over into the nest of
the large ants. So few of the small ants made any resistance that it
gave one the agreeable impression the larger ants were only offering
assistance. But I failed to find on subsequent visits that they had
returned the pupæ. And although they daily brought their own pupæ out
of the galleries, the smaller cocoons never more came to view, and the
small ants subsequently abandoned their nest. Thereafter I felt some
compunction in thus disturbing a whole community for mere curiosity.

It is noticeable above all how the ants at such times take no thought
for their own safety, but for that of their charge solely. Whether
their interest is in any sense maternal or merely a property interest
does not appear. Another feature evident in disturbing a formicary is
the general harmony in which the individuals of any one colony work
together. Here is no less than a catastrophe, as if the roof of one's
house were suddenly to be removed and everything upset. And yet not one
runs away or apparently conflicts with any other. There are no cross
purposes; no two get in each other's way; but animated by a common
motive, and by one only, the community proceeds with despatch to the
work in hand.

Is this socialism among ants something preordained for them as the
condition of their life, or is it in part an acquired tendency of the
ants themselves? That they _do_ acquire tendencies would seem clear
enough. If it should be proven that this social state is in fact the
result of an evolution among them, it would be one of the most
significant facts of natural history.

It serves the community admirably at any rate. But with them the
individual does not count. Ants are ahead of us in one respect in that
they have order without coercion. There is such harmony, such
co-operation among them, they have evolved no ruling class, the queens
being such only in name and more properly the mother ants. The life of
the community is all, and every one looks out for it.

On warm afternoons early in September you may look for the swarming of
the queens, when myriads of ants sail into the air in their desultory
marriage flight. In apparently endless succession they pass, every now
and then one alighting, whereupon begins the curious part of the
performance, for they run rapidly about, throwing themselves upon their
backs to squirm from side to side after the manner of a dog scratching.
They then get upon all sixes and continue running to and fro. After
these contortions the wings wear a most disheveled appearance, and, as
the process continues, become more and more crumpled, until at length
one or more are missing.

Sometimes in sheer desperation an ant will lie on her back and revolve
rapidly in this position. In some cases the wings seem to resist all
attempts to remove them and the ants redouble their efforts. Their
frenzy appears to know no bounds; they fairly stand on their heads and
repeatedly fall over miniature precipices and into Lilliputian
crevices in their blind determination to tear off the wings. Again they
seem to use their legs as though trying to twist off a wing. It is the
most fanatical performance to be witnessed among insects.

Such dogged persistence must sooner or later attain its end, and
presently the ant is seen running about wingless or perhaps with only a
torn stub left. The behavior is no longer frantic as before, but she
now moves about as if enjoying great relief. During one such flight
great numbers came down into a gravelly path through a huckleberry
patch. They apparently avoided the bushes on either hand, and chose to
alight in the path, for it was alive with ants twisting and turning and
wriggling upon their backs in the gravel. Others, having gotten rid of
their wings, were attempting to go head foremost into the ground,
possibly with a view of laying their eggs, or merely because the soil
was their natural element.

Around the formicary itself the workers were grouped _en masse_,
endeavoring either to restrain the new brood of queens in the old
colony or to coerce them into leaving. They appeared to drive them as a
squad of police might force back a crowd. But it is manifestly
difficult to interpret their motives with any assurance, and it is more
likely they were provoking them to flight. At such times they ascend
the branches of a bush and collect in excited little groups on the buds
and flowers around the females, as if determined they should go. No
doubt it is an exciting day with them, a sort of Labor Day
demonstration. In this case it is the womenfolk who are thus bent on
asserting their rights and doing as they will. But why, having once
ascended into the larger world and the liberty of winged creatures,
must they insist on tearing off this means of freedom to become
crawling, laborious insects? They appear to hear two calls, one from
above and the other of the earth, earthy, and to obey the latter. But
it is with them the race and the future--always the future.

To an ant a tree is a forest in itself. Ascending its mammoth trunk to
the upper regions, she follows the great highways of the branches, out
into the unknown and trackless wilderness of leaves in pursuit of her
game--the aphid. She knows well in what wild and solitary uplands to
look for this mountain-goat.

The under side of maple leaves affords good pasturage to numerous green
aphids which there browse contentedly in the pleasant shade and under
the watchful eyes of the small brown ants that herd them. The aphids
are all sizes and ages, though as to age the difference is probably but
a few days. With a glass, the process of "milking" may be observed, the
ants merely stroking the aphids with their antennæ. Two small tubes,
like sap quills, protrude from the back of the aphid, and from time to
time minute glistening drops are seen to exude from these tubes and are
removed by the ants in attendance. Surely, to the ant here is the land
of milk and honey. They move constantly to and fro among the aphids,
now and then stopping to stroke one. Apparently they detect by some
signs which are ready to yield the sweet fluid. Their presence appears
to be agreeable to the aphids and is never in the least resented. After
long watching with the glass, I have never seen anything akin to
insubordination. Pluck the leaf ever so gently and hold it in a proper
position, the difference is at once apparent to the aphids, for there
begins an exodus, and large and small troop up the stem of the leaf and
so on to whatsoever it may be attached; nor does it cease until they
have deserted to the last one.

But the life of ants is by no means given over to these bucolic
pursuits. While the meadow-ants seem to be in the pastoral stage, the
red species and the large black ones are hunters and warriors. The most
sanguinary conflict I have witnessed was a battle of the ants. Two
armies of the same black species met on the floor of a neighbor's barn.
The battle lasted throughout several days, and both sides fought with
indescribable ferocity. Where they came from was a mystery, as no such
colonies of ants had ever been seen thereabouts.

They appeared to be of the species _Formica pennsylvanica_ which nests
in trees, but these do not occur in very large colonies, whereas the
contending hosts upon the barn floor were as the Tartar hordes. The
floor was strewn with struggling pairs and with the dead and injured,
and always fresh forces were arriving.

The persistence with which they fought is only to be compared to that
of bulldogs, while they showed the ferocity of weasels. Once let an ant
get another by the thorax and she would continue crunching and sawing
until she had severed the head, notwithstanding in the meantime one or
several of her own legs had been cut off by her antagonist. This was
the usual outcome of the various individual combats.

From time to time I placed pairs of combatants on the slide of a
dissecting lens, and through the glass observed them as in an arena. It
was a miniature combat of gladiators, but with no appeal for mercy on
the part of the vanquished. Much evidently depended on the best hold,
as in wrestling, for there was no dislodging an ant once she had
secured it. Under the lens the comparatively great strength and the
skill and relentless ferocity of these miniature warriors became more
evident and was astonishing to witness.

A bird's-eye view of the battle-field revealed no plan of action nor
any directing genius. It was every one for himself--or rather
herself--but there was absolute unity of purpose. Occasionally some
could be seen running about with the heads of the vanquished suspended
on their antennæ, whereon the jaws had closed in the death-struggle,
not again to be relaxed. These ants appeared to seek no relief from
such a monstrous encumbrance, nor seemingly was any offered by their
comrades. Others were crawling on an uneven number of legs in search of
new foes. The cause of such a conflict among ants of the same species
remains a mystery--one of the many mysteries.

Every year the red ants raid the common blacks for the purpose of
making slaves--a most highhanded proceeding. This season I came upon
the invading host marching up the road about ten in the morning of July
28th. The invasion had but lately begun, as the ants were carrying no
pupæ; it was the skirmish line. As the column advanced, frequent and
rapid communication took place between individuals and stragglers who
were coming back. Later, when the raid was well under way, there was
little of this. The nest of the red ants was by the side of a path in
the woods which led out to the wagon road, while the negroes were
domiciled some distance up this lane. Now the column of red ants
followed the path and the road the entire way, in place of going
directly through the bushes, though it doubled the distance, which thus
amounted to some fifty yards.

Red ants were soon pouring out of the various openings in the nest of
the blacks, carrying both pupæ and larvæ, and rarely one passed with a
bunch of small white eggs. Several black queens came out of the nest,
and as they emerged were set upon by red ants, which tried to hold them
by their wings. They managed, however, to throw off their assailants,
and ran under my feet, where they were followed by a score of black
workers, all of whom crowded under the soles of my shoes as I stood on
the loose gravel. At noon I timed the ants and found that, on the
average, forty pupæ and larvæ were carried past a given point every
minute. Two unbroken columns now extended the entire distance between
the nests, one advancing and the other returning.

Occasionally one passed carrying a portion of a black ant, a head and
thorax, or an abdomen. Again, one would appear with a live black,
which, when liberated by me, frantically made her escape. Very young
negroes when carried off were never injured. On one occasion several
red ants were struggling with a black, and among them was a black who
fought against her own friend. This is the only case in which I saw a
black ant help the enemy in this way--a traitor, evidently, but
presumably one whose pupa had been captured the year before and reared
in slavery. Whereas the red ants always came to each other's
assistance, the blacks rarely did so.

By five o'clock the raid was practically over for the day. It ceased as
suddenly as it had begun. Early in the struggle a slender, straggling
column had diverged from the main line, about half way between the
nests. I now found the entire body of ants moving in this new
direction. The one raid over, they had undertaken another upon a colony
of blacks some twenty-five yards distant, and were transporting the
pupæ and larvæ at about the same rate as before. To reach this nest,
the column must cross the wagon road, and here a number were crushed
from time to time by passing vehicles. But the marching army passed by
with the stolen pupæ and paid no heed to their wounded comrades. This
second foray ceased before nightfall.

The following morning by ten o'clock the raid had been renewed and a
great stream of ants were bearing away pupæ as before. Whenever the
column moved over dry leaves its progress was distinctly audible, a
rustling sound suggesting the curiously dry _crik crik_ of a serpent.
The footfall of the ants was as incessant as the patter of rain; a
barefooted insect host, a rabble of _sans culottes_, and the sound of
their marching feet reached my listening ears, as it were in the clouds
above them.

On the fourth day the slavers began kidnapping the blacks themselves
and carrying them unharmed to the nest. Quite often I found them
carrying individuals of their own species. These may have been
deserters or they may have been ants from some other community, who,
learning of the raid, thought to be present at the final sack and
perhaps share in the spoils. A still more puzzling thing was the fact
that some few red ants bore negroes in the wrong direction,--that is,
from the red back to the black colony. I have noticed on former
occasions that the raid may become thus complicated toward its close as
if the ants, drunk with victory, were beside themselves.

On the 7th of August the raid was directed against a new negro colony
some distance further down the road. It was carried on with something
like the usual vigor until the 25th of the month, when it apparently
ceased. The first nests of blacks, in which some few ants remained,
were no longer molested, though the besieging army passed them on its
way to the field of operation. Thus the series of raids of this one
colony of red ants continued for nearly a month.

I found no less than three other raids in progress at this time, among
widely separated communities, so that the marauding spirit was
contagious among them and spread like the war fever. The red warriors
were everywhere in arms and bent on pillage. One hill, being free from
grass, offered a clear view of what was going on at the doorway at
least. Here the black workers--the slaves of a former raid--were
carrying out bits of gravel, while the train of red ants entered,
bearing the stolen pupæ from the pillaged nest. The red ants were at
this time bringing some large queen pupæ which they had great
difficulty in getting over the ground. As they approached the entrance,
the black workers deposited their bits of gravel and ran to their
assistance. Several blacks which remained near the entrance seemed to
act thus as porters, while others about the top of the hill were
engaged as laborers.

Stopping work at about five o'clock, the train of red ants melted away
before one's eyes. They dropped their task very much as a gang of men
do when the whistle blows. Their day at that sort of labor was
therefore only about seven or eight hours, as if some of the principles
of Labor Union were in vogue among these brigands. They would kidnap
only so many hours a day. The slaves, however, kept at work until dusk.
Perhaps the red ants continued inside the nest, disposing of the pupæ
captured during the day, but they brought in none after five o'clock.

Three days had elapsed from the close of this raid when, for some
reason, the entire colony of red ants deserted the hill, carrying the
newly captured slaves and their pupæ with them. They took up their
abode under a cement walk, an unusual place for red ants, and a week of
incessant labor was consumed in carrying the black ants and pupæ to the
new site. This was, then, a _bona fide_ exodus of an entire community.

Under the cement walk to which the colony of red ants had migrated with
their slaves were numerous nests of small brown ants. These swarmed one
sultry afternoon, and as they came pouring out of the cracks in the
walk and clustered on the surface, the fierce red ants fell upon them
with fury, slaying hundreds and leaving most of the bodies on the
walk, though many were carried away. This I took to be a veritable
hunting expedition. Like some other "sportsmen," they appeared to kill
more than they wanted, and the little heaps of winged dead were left to
be scattered by a gust of wind.

On the following day a new chapter opened in the history of this
remarkable colony, for I found them attacking a large negro colony some
distance away. Contrary to custom, the blacks defended their nests with
spirit, and at first seemed to hold their own. Not divining what was to
follow, I was surprised to find the red ants carrying away no pupæ. But
the next day it was made plain enough, for the red ants appeared in a
compact column bearing pupæ and slaves, which but a week before they
had deposited under the walk, and which they were now moving for the
third time. Was this a second exodus or had the move to the walk been
merely an expedient until they should find a more suitable place?
Without further ado they invaded the nest, and four distinct colonies
(the red ants held slaves of a previous year), one red and three black,
with all larvæ and pupæ and some eggs, were thus housed together. One
may imagine the feelings of the unfortunate community on finding not
only an invading army of freebooters, but that some thousands of their
own cousins, children and all, were come bag and baggage to live with
them.

Now the marching column passed close by the nests of the little brown
ants which had been their hunting-ground of the few past days. They
were too engrossed in carrying pupæ to follow the chase, but I found
three of their slaves posted by some small holes in the cement through
which the brown ants left their nests. These negroes remained near the
opening, and, as the brown ants appeared, would reach over the edge and
pull one forth which was soon crushed and tossed aside. During the
several hours that I watched them the three slaves remained so engaged.
From time to time they would run about among the wounded, and picking
up one here or there, apparently give it a nip.

This final move occupied some eight days, and nothing further
transpired in the history of this colony,--that is, above ground. The
war fever subsided as suddenly as it had arisen, and the erstwhile
warriors were perhaps become peaceful educators of the slaves now
being born into captivity with only some vague instinct of freedom,
some race memory handed down from the halcyon days before the advent of
the red Tartar.

If the sluggard is to go to the ant, then let it not be to the red ant,
nor again to the slave, but to some Syrian species known to Solomon,
which stored up provender for the winter, or to the little brown ant
which herds the aphid. Huber relates that he found the slave-making ant
of Europe (_P. rufescens_) unable to feed itself, so that, if isolated,
it would miserably starve in the midst of plenty. Not to such an ant,
then, should the sluggard go, but to that wise yellow species which,
declares Lubbock, actually brought in and cared for the eggs of an
aphid through the winter, and carried out the young aphids in the
spring to their proper food plant. Certainly should we ever attain to
the dignity of wings, there will be no occasion to emulate the ant,
which, being born into that freedom, tears them from its body, the rest
of its days to crawl upon the earth.



AUTUMN STUDIES


Early in August we are surprised each year by the glowing leaves on the
tupelo, a little patch of scarlet gleaming in the swamp, while the high
blueberry is still in fruit and the silver-rod is making its
appearance. By the time the wood-lilies have faded in the huckleberry
pasture, the red bunchberries add their bit of color to the carpet on
the edge of the swamp. The large berries of the clintonia turn that
rare shade of blue which they retain but a short time, growing darker
as they ripen. This delicate bloom appears later on the berries of the
smilax, the frost-grapes, the savin and the viburnums; but in the
clintonia there is an admixture of some tint lacking in these, which
gives a finer blue, as though there were reflected here some remoter
depths of the heavens, a bit of ethereal and celestial color imprisoned
for a moment. Mountain-holly is now in its prime, its berries of a deep
cherry, perhaps one of the richest reds to be found in nature, as those
of the clintonia present one of the rarest blues, equaled only by
gentians and bluebirds. Both berries, of course, wear their true colors
only in their prime and lose them on becoming overripe. In the swamps
the little yellow and brown cyperus is in flower and the leaves of the
small, pale St.-John's-wort have reddened to a brilliant hue, while
young bullfrogs and pickerel-frogs sun themselves on the lily-pads and
dream away the mellow hours.

While the dog-days are disappointing in respect to bird life, there are
compensations. The charm of this season lies in the mushrooms. Though
these last through October, they are more in evidence in August, and
take on prominence then because of a diminishing flora and the
withdrawal from view of a large number of birds. It is a second
spring--hot, moist and fungus--a blooming of the mushroom world. Old
stumps and dead branches blossom gaily, and bring forth a tropic flora.
Decay is seen to be the matrix of beauty. The logs of corduroy roads
through the swamp are incrusted with a shelf fungus (_P. versicolor_)
of marvelous hues. These, spread like open fans, are fastened to the
wood by the pileus itself, as by the handle. Some are banded in
seal-brown and amber, the surface having the lustrous, changeful
effects of a cat's eye. Others are striped in violet and deep green;
still others in green and mauve, and some in ochre and tawny hues,
while over all there is a play of light as on watered silk.

It requires somewhat of the heroic spirit to discover whether a
mushroom is edible or not. But we may feast our eyes on the amanita,
and all other mushrooms, with no fear of consequences. The mycologist
seems to overlook the finer and esthetic value of mushrooms. They are
beautiful to look upon--surely this is one important qualification.
What more attractive these misty days than the deadly amanita--the
"destroying angel"? How it gleams in the woods! How it lures with its
terrible beauty! But they who are tempted to taste must be wholly given
over to the pleasures of the table. It was not made for the stomach,
but to be digested and assimilated by mental processes alone and the
perception of beauty thereby nourished and sustained.

How clean and wholesome is the pasture mushroom--_the_ mushroom--with
its white flesh, pink gills, and cap from which the skin peels as
readily as from a fig. The same field is often sprinkled over with
puffballs looking as fresh as new-laid eggs, as they poke out of the
close-cropped turf. Some species are thus eminently wholesome and
inviting, while others have a loathsome fungoid personality and affect
one like the sight of reptiles. They express the fact that they are of
the _lower orders_--the slimy world. Mushrooms are indeed almost as
varied in outline and color as flowers. Red species of russula vie with
the rose, with ripe cherries, or the cheeks of Bartlett pears, while
the green russula is of richer, more velvety hue than any unripe fruit.
The grotesque forms of boleti have a kind of fascination. One comes to
distinguish minute differences and to cherish these odd and sometimes
graceful shapes, as a connoisseur might his bronzes or antique vases.

Many of the mosses are fruiting at this season, but they, for the most
part, belong to that mysterious and unfathomable world of the compound
microscope. Yet here are some, be it said with joy, that so proclaim
themselves as to be known of all men. Such we can take home to us as
friends of our leisure and landmarks in our excursions. These at least
we have reclaimed from science. In the shadowy sea of Latin names
these few green isles appear--peat-moss, broom-moss, hair-cap and
fern-moss. Like miniature smilax are the mniums, marvelous little
trailing beauties, while of all vegetable elves the silvery bryum has
the greatest witchery, with young drooping pea-green capsules like so
many fairy pipes. A miniature jungle is the fern-moss, a forest of tree
ferns at our very doors--Ceylon and Java in our wood lot. It is only a
difference of dimension. A patch of this is as rich and luxuriant as
any jungle of bamboos on the lower slope of the Himalaya, and a spider
might as easily lose himself in one as a man in the other.

[Illustration: AUTUMN STUDIES COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

With what a fine garment of green does Nature clothe the trunks of
swamp-maples and some black birches. It is a true woodland costume
befitting their sylvan life; a snug garment tightly wrapped about the
trunk as though to protect the vital parts of the body while the
extremities are bared to the winds. Woven in woodland looms of mosses
and lichens, it forever replenishes itself, the holes mended and the
bare spots renewed as by deft and invisible weavers.

Where do the birds go in August? Never an oriole's note nor a
bluebird's warble. All the more we appreciate the faithful redeye and
the wood-pewee. The importunate twittering of young birds with their
speckled breasts and half-grown tails is in evidence; they at least do
not hesitate to make themselves known. But in September are bright days
when there come waves of birds. The returning warblers rove in little
bands, and companies of young field-and chipping-sparrows flit in and
out among the bayberries and alight in the path.

In their dull, autumn colors the warblers have an unfamiliar look. They
come disguised in winter cloaks which, if you do not know their little
mannerisms, may be effective enough. With provoking celerity they flit
in and out the thick foliage, and you dance attendance; now this way
and now that, stumbling over pasture stones or plunging into the midst
of blackberry and rose thickets, to be detained at last by the
persuasive catbrier. Again you go forth to find the game has stolen
away and not a warbler is to be seen. Such are the exigencies of bird
study in September; yet in a few days other flocks may arrive. Every
faintest clue is valuable to the ornithologist who honestly refrains
from the gun. Were it not for the peculiar jerking of the tail, one
would hardly recognize the yellowpoll in his dull suit. The
fly-catchers frequently declare their identity through mannerisms. Were
it not for difference of manner and voice, the phoebe and the pewee
might easily be confused; so also the redeye and the warbling vireo. I
have known the redeye for years, but can never make out his _red_ eye,
unless it be a glass one.

Now comes the winter wren, peeping and prying round about a mossy
tussock like a little mouse, but far more self-contained. His wee tail
is elevated and his whole demeanor pert. What a picture he makes,
prying about in the hair-caps, his head little higher than the
capsules,--a ruddy, rich-hued, speckled little fellow. If only he would
give us a measure of that fabled song, that Orphean strain of the far
North and of the mountain tops, which is denied to dwellers on these
lower levels! There are songs to be heard only on Parnassus.

These are the days of journeying seeds. In spring it was blowing
pollen; in early autumn, mushroom spores; and now winged seeds flying
before the wind. Those of the hop-hornbeam are done up in little papery
bags which, though incapable of an extended flight, manage to sail out
and away from the parent tree. Even the small seeds of birch and alder,
compact as they are, have wings provided,--for no ambitious flight, to
be sure, but a gentle excursion only, such as the broad-winged maple
seed may take when its hour arrives. Acorns will fall directly below
the tree, perhaps roll some little distance on uneven ground and lie in
rich confusion--a symbol of plenty. For any further transportation they
must depend upon the wings of the jay and the feet of the squirrel. In
this respect the sweet acorns of the white oak have the better chance,
while at the same time they run the greater risk of being eaten. Jays
constantly carry acorns, and may frequently drop them. Gray squirrels
bury them, and recover a surprising number later when the snow is on
the ground. They know wherein the white are superior and are as well
informed about acorns as are we about apples or the varieties of
squash. The white oak acorn is to them Hubbard squash or Baldwin apple.

When Nature planned that the nut trees should bear as they do, she
doubtless considered the squirrel and the boy that was to be. She had
no idea of deriving a thousand seedlings from a hickory, but perhaps
one only, and allowing for those that should come to naught, the boys
and the squirrels might have the rest--to say nothing of weevils, which
get ahead of both when it comes to chestnuts, being on hand to lay
their eggs in the flower. When the boy arrives, it is to find them
already in possession--surely nine-tenths of the law in this case. The
chestnut-bur was seemingly designed as a means of protection rather
than of transportation,--unless it be that in remote times the tertiary
monkey got them in his coat, or perhaps slyly pelted the mastodon with
these monster burs, and they were thus conveyed, as now a dog will
carry beggar-ticks. As a protection it does not serve against its most
insidious foe, the larva of the weevil, which works not from without
but from within. Nature has treated the butternut better by surrounding
it with a husk, as food for the grubs, which are content to go no
deeper. One is a case of armed resistance, the other of diplomacy, and
diplomacy wins.

How evidently all Nature is flowing. It is as though we stood on the
banks of a river and saw pass--today arbutus, tomorrow, columbines,
and later, goldenrod. The last is hardly gone before the advance guard
of skunk-cabbage appears again. Autumn nourishes a vigorous
brood--whole acres of wild sunflowers, acres again of joepye-weed, and
salt marshes aglow with the great rose-mallow. Presently there will be
only asters and goldenrod--everywhere purple and gold; royal robes worn
not for long, to give way to the sober dress of early winter--a monk's
garb.

Early in September the common brakes turn, imparting a faint glow to
the woods. Dicksonia has a brighter hue, and patches surrounding a
pasture boulder fairly seem to emit light. But this is as nothing to
the splendor of cinnamon-ferns in the open bogs, now dry, and the
spagnum withered and sear. It is as if the smouldering earth-fires
leapt at the touch of autumn and glowed in these stately fronds. In the
woods is always a predominance of yellow at this season; so lately
somber and damp, heavy with the mustiness and humidity of the dog-days,
they are now full of imprisoned sunshine. As by a touch of enchantment,
the falling of the lower leaves on all shrubbery and in brier thickets
has suddenly given us distances, larger perspective and new vistas,
where before we were hedged in between dense green walls. Aspen,
shadbush, blackberry, birch and hickory all incline to yellow, mottled
and speckled more or less with brown. Ochre, umber, sienna, gamboge are
on Nature's palette; soon she will replace these with crimson and
scarlet. Already there is a touch of vermilion in the brilliant
poison-ivy; and she has spilled drops of scarlet everywhere on the
outskirts of the woods, along a wall, over a fence, up in a pine, in
the very midst of a radiant gleaming hickory--wherever the Virginia
creeper grows.

Nature works deftly, at first with delicate brush touching a shadbush,
a clump of osmunda, or again only a leaf, a spot of color, a patch here
and a streak there; but the day of transfiguration approaches. Early
October sees the stag-horn sumacs fairly scintillate with color. At
last the whole color-box is upset and runs red down a hillside
huckleberry patch, meeting a yellow streak in a ravine and spreading
out over the swamps, a sea of scarlet and gold. Every year Nature
starts out in this modest fashion and ends in an upset and riot of
color. We should know her ways by this time, but though her plan is the
same she varies the details infinitely and there are always surprises.
These same earth-fires which blazed in the osmunda now glow deep red in
the dwarf sumacs--a dull, fierce flame, as if for the nonce Pluto's
fires shone through the thin shell of earth. The poison-ivy is in its
glory, and no tupelo, no sugar-maple, can rival its scarlet and
vermilion. Earth indeed wears a jewel now. But there is nowhere a
warmer, mellower tint than the shadbush has caught and held,--not
brilliant nor showy, not a shining mark in the woods, but a cheery
sight that warms the cockles of your heart. Little clumps of the
maple-leaved viburnum are now of a delicate smoky pink, while the ash
turns an indescribable hue--a greenish maroon or purplish green if such
there be.

Already the hickory leaves are falling, detaching themselves one by one
and floating leisurely to earth. It will now be our gentle pleasure to
walk through crisp and rustling leaves. Barberries are ripe, and
old-fashioned folk gather them for jelly or preserve them in molasses,
wherein they are as so many shoe-pegs drowned in sweetness. The
solitary sandpiper comes again to preside briefly over the ponds--a
lone, wild spirit. Little flocks of coots scud low over the water, and
in the dark, spongy humus of the hemlock swamp, red squirrels are
digging caches and concealing the small cones, a dozen or more in a
place. Such are the signs of the times.

Yet another sign--the last effort of the dying year--is the
witch-hazel, which sheds its leaves and stands arrayed in yellow
blossoms. A brave suggestion is this flower of the late autumn,
blossoming when all else is in the sear and yellow, that it may bear
seed in another year. When all others have given up and are retreating,
this one comes forth as much as to say it is never too late. There is a
very witchery in the crinkled yellow flower born of the old year in a
frosty world; a borean child brought hither on the wings of the North
wind; a sturdy blossom that will not show itself till it hears the
music of rustling leaves.

Late in autumn the white pines shed their needles and lay down a new
carpet. No turning of the old here, but every year another--fresh,
wholesome, fragrant; a plain, well-wearing groundwork that never
offends the eye and on which is traced from time to time a rare and
original design. It is now a scarlet tupelo or a maple leaf dropped
here and there, and again a creeping mitchella with a red berry or
two, or a clump of ground-pine and a drift of beech and scarlet oak
leaves. On occasion appears a solitary gleaming amanita. Over the rich
seal-brown of ancient hemlock stumps is a tracery of the gray-green
cladonia with its scarlet fruiting cups. What are Tabriz, Daghestan,
Bokhara and the rest to this? These odorous pine-needles are the magic
carpet which gently conveys one into the sylvan world of faun and
nymph. Now it is a sunbath we want rather than a cold dip,--to bask in
the warmth like any cottontail. To lie in some sheltered spot while the
frost is taking off the last leaves, and become saturated with
sunlight, is a mellowing process, and ripens one,--as tomatoes are
ripened on the window-sill or grapes on the trellis.

As the vivid hues of the red maple fade in the swamp and are replaced
by the soft silvery gray and purplish sheen of the bark, the oaks on
the hillside become ruddy. The coloring is rich and subdued, rather
than brilliant and glowing as at first--mahogany and maroon set off by
the purple mists of Indian summer. And now at last branches are bare
and leaves rustle underfoot.



PASTURE STONES


In New England pastures, the boulders are as much in harmony with their
environment as any tree or shrub. They have the appearance of having
grown here, quite as naturally as the bayberry and the sweet fern, and
are kindred of the savin, and the low-spreading juniper which circles
round them and hugs the stone like the lichen itself. The migrant
boulders from the North are congenial to these hardy northern plants
which reflect the somber character of the rock.

A field that has been entirely cleared of its pasture stones and left
to stand thus, somehow looks barren and deserted. You feel you would
like to restore a boulder here and there and invite the juniper and the
bayberry to return. There is character in these ancient pasture stones,
and they cannot be removed without depriving the landscape of that
which they imparted; it is no longer virile and forceful, but tame and
meek as though shorn of its strength.

If you would build your house on truly historic ground, lay it on
foundation of pasture stones, and incorporate, as it were, Time itself
into the structure. This is to let the very elements work for you. On
many a farm the boulders are as good a crop as any; when they are
gathered into the walls to give room for one more lucrative, this value
at least of the farm is still represented. The fields have produced but
one crop of boulders, and only the ages could mature this. If the
pastures must lose this ancient beauty, let the house gain by it. Build
it into your chimney. Take it to your hearth that it may not be lost.
Let the boulder tell its story by the light of the hickory logs.

There is a rustic notion that boulders somehow _grow_, in some
inexplicable manner enlarging like puff balls and drawing sustenance
from the earth--and what could be more puzzling to the uninitiated than
the presence of these pasture stones? His was an ingenious mind who
conjured up that remote ice age from this fragmentary evidence and
derived a history from these scattered letters and elliptical
sentences. It was like tracing the stars to their origin.

It takes a bold imagination, indeed, to see these familiar fields and
woods overlaid with a mile's thickness of ice; to recognize here in
this present landscape a very Greenland, redeemed and made hospitable.
There was need of a solid foundation of fact, patiently garnered,
before such an arch of fancy could be sprung. What chaos and desolation
once reigned here, only these boulders can tell. Here was a frozen
waste as barren as the face of the moon. But beneath lay the soil that
was to nurture the violet and the hepatica. There was a fine
satisfaction in riding a miracle like this to earth, to corner it and
see it resolve itself into the working of natural laws.

Nature appears as intent on breaking up the old rocks as in forming new
ones. The ledge is, after all, but a mass of masonry in which huge
blocks are set without mortar and as closely and evenly as jewels. What
a lathe was that ancient glacier in which to turn and smooth these
rough gems; or rather a great file which rasped their edges and
corners. In rectangular blocks that have weathered, the decay is deeper
at the corners, so that a cubical block tends to become a sphere as it
diminishes. Frost is the stone-cutter, who scatters his chips over the
world; Rain, the giant who is bent on turning these into soil. Consider
what power lay in this tongue of ice which licked up the crumbs of the
earth; carried Canada into New England and New England into New York,
depositing its burden as gently as the petal falls from a rose.

Boulders are to be considered veterans of glacial times, which carry
still the scars of that strenuous day. What tales they have to tell of
that mammoth conflict, that prehistoric incursion of the Arctic hosts,
but only to very good listeners are they unfolded. You must needs have
a sympathetic ear to become their confidant. The unconscious rock
assumes dignity in view of its past, as though here were an imprisoned
earth-spirit, proceeding thus through the strenuous life to some
ultimate freedom. Sermons in stones indeed! A terminal moraine is the
most ancient battle-ground of the world. Here are the very heroes
themselves, stretched upon the field in imperturbable granite, as
certain others were fixed in the heavens as constellations. To walk
among them is to see in fancy the advent of the wall of ice, mile-high,
which buried the primitive jungle forever. Here the great glacier
began its retreat, and over the spot there broods a silence, as over
historic ground once the theater of great actions. After untold
centuries, the wild rose and the hay-scented fern cluster round the
boulder, and dandelions star the grass.

I please myself with imagining the venerable pasture stones to have
been observant of events and to have retained the memory of it all, as
the Colosseum might have memories of Rome, or the Sphinx of Egypt and
the desert. Such have seen races live out their lives and disappear.
That every dog has his day might well be a maxim among these ancient
ones of the earth who saw a tropic jungle resolve itself into an Arctic
solitude and as slowly give way to a temperate zone. I salute the
pasture stone as having witnessed the advent of man upon the earth. It
is difficult to associate the tertiary animals with anything but the
museum, or to realize that those preposterous Paleozoic reptiles were
ever other than fossils. But here is a weather-beaten observer that was
actually contemporary with that life, to us so intangible and shadowy;
that knew the ancestor of the horse, and ages before the separation
from the mother ledge, it may be, was wont to see the sky darkened by
flying reptiles.

They were fashioned roughly, these boulders, cast in a rude mould, as
if they had emerged from chaos itself before form had become defined.
The sea would have all the pebbles on its shore of a size and shape. It
takes a block from the cliff and turns it in its lathe that it may
become a polished sphere, as in that larger and cosmic lathe the
planets are turned. On the beach are innumerable stones that look as
much alike as so many eggs. But no two pasture stones are the same.
They were turned in no such precise lathe as the sea's, but by a
rough-handed force, which here planed a surface and there gouged a
depression. Pasture stones are thus almost as individual in appearance
as men. Here is one squat like a toad, one humpbacked as a dromedary,
another flat as a cake--a mere slab of granite. They are wrinkled and
deformed, as so many gnomes, and covered with
excrescences--razor-backed or round-shouldered, lopsided or with
protruding paunch, while the great solitary boulders rise from the
pasture, massive domes and pinnacles of granite.

But none are polished, none are symmetrical; nowhere is there an
ellipsoid, such as the sea loves to turn, but rough outlines always.
Frequently one surface is rounded; the work of making a sphere was
begun but progressed only thus far. Again, two surfaces may be
approximately parallel and the remainder rough and angular. Commonly it
is an affair of many angles, all unequal, and of a multitude of curves
of different radii. It is cast in a mould it would be difficult to
classify. With the multiform aspects of crystals, they are still not so
varied as these pasture stones. For crystals, for leaves, for
snowflakes, there are definite patterns. But the boulder is a thing by
itself, subject to other laws and formed under a different order of
architecture--or under no order--but the will of the glacier, which has
left here and there the marks of its icy fingers.

There is a suggestion of friendliness in the way the lichens clothe
these stones, as though Nature aimed to cover the scars she could not
heal, or to hang them with such rich medallions as the parmelia in
token of that ancient service. Here are colors such as only Time can
mix,--shades which are the work of centuries, unspeakably softened and
mellowed, like ivory and meerschaum and bronze. In its day the
Acropolis may have been glaring and crude in tone; the raw marble,
fresh from the quarry, needed these centuries to subdue and mellow it.
It has acquired a tender beauty unknown to that classic day which saw
it in its splendor. Some such service has been rendered to the pasture
stone and the ledge. When the Archæan granite was poured out from the
depths it must have worn a new and crude look, albeit so fresh and
clean. Then it was but so much raw feldspar and quartz and mica. But it
has long been wooed by the air and the water, by moss and lichen; the
years have lent it beauty, softened its curves, rounded its angles and
brought it the richness of age.

Boulders are sometimes clothed with a larger growth. I have in mind
one, from whose apex springs a maple at least half a century old. It
lies at the head of a swamp, and in autumn this tree is always one of
the first to turn. In August when the tupelos show signs of change, the
maple is already glowing with color. The tree springs from the very
summit of the rock while its main root reaches through a split some
fifteen feet to the earth. Looking across the swamp, it appears to
crown the boulder with a noble dignity--a landmark in the country
round--as if reflecting those elementary forces which conspired to
bring about this unusual condition,--the glacier which brought the
boulder, the winds which carried the maple seed, the frost which split
the rock.

After their many vicissitudes, the boulders have settled down upon the
bosom of the pasture and come to be a fixture in the landscape. This
present age is to them the serene and mellow autumn of their troubled
life. Their day is a thousand years. But they are melting into soil--as
icicles dissolve in the sun--in that measureless and yet imperceptible
thaw which melts granite. The pasture land is perhaps the dust of a
still more primitive race whose life has been transmuted into the
dandelion and the thistle.



NEIGHBORS


All wild animals are wary and suspicious, even when they do not prey
upon one another. What friend has the rabbit, the chipmunk or the
weasel? They lead friendless lives and die tragic deaths. Why should
not a rabbit gossip with a woodchuck, for instance? One would think
their common danger might draw them together, and that they might
perhaps learn a little woodcraft one of the other. But caste is nowhere
stronger than in the woods. They do not sit at meat together unless,
indeed, one is himself the repast.

Like a subtle atmosphere the spirit of the wild pervades the forest.
Whoever enters comes under its spell. In the woods the dog tends to
revert to the wolf, and savage instincts come to light. On the street
he may pay no heed to people, will move in and out among them, himself
a bit of civilization; but let him leave the village and go into the
woods, and he is suspicious and on his guard.

We have so fostered this attitude of fear and distrust that our wild
neighbors are at best but casual acquaintances, if not complete
strangers to us. We are like sharpshooters ambushed around the outposts
of an encampment. A stray inmate pokes his head out of the trenches and
essays to go to the spring for water. Perhaps we let him drink and make
a note of that, then--whiz! we let fly at him. We discover what he has
had for dinner and a few other trifling matters--and we get his skin.
His ways remain strange to us and his language no more familiar than
Choctaw. Sometimes we catch him and put him in a cage. But what can be
learned of a poor, sullen prisoner fretting away his life with terrible
thoughts of distant sunlight and running streams and friendly woods?

The acquaintance of a wild animal is not to be made with a gun.
Practically nothing is learned in this way; it is difficult enough to
know them without this barrier. But never to have loved the wild things
is to have lost much--to have lived less. Any dolt can shoot an animal
and have a bag of bones for his pains, but to win over such a creature
in the smallest degree implies a victory, and is evidence of the
redeeming power of the heart. There is a rare pleasure in encountering
deer when you have no designs upon them. Such furtive meetings are in
themselves adequate. They have the fascination of lovely faces seen for
a fleeting moment in a crowd, instantly to be lost sight of. How little
we really know about the lives of animals. We can surmise a few things
and imagine a great many, but we _know_ next to nothing. Perhaps there
is not so very much to know. Their emotions are not complex but simple;
their lives run in narrow grooves. That they suffer, much as we suffer,
is certain, and the main thing is to be kind. It is impossible to come
upon a wild animal and watch it unobserved without deriving a subtle
impression foreign to our usual life. There is something in the free,
savage existence which is a shock to the thought-burdened, educated
mind, and breaks for a moment its prison of glass.

A glen to which I often go is, like most others in the sequestered
woods, really populous, while being to all appearances quite deserted.
Its inhabitants are closely associated with the brook; they drink at it
and all their lives hear its song. This glen is _their_ world, and yet
they possess it and live in it in virtue of persistent self-effacement.

There are mice and shrews, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, a
woodchuck or two, a skunk, a little gray rabbit, a weasel and a mink.
Far from being alone, you are watched by numerous unblinking eyes. From
the grass, the rocks, the trees, motionless and in silence these
creatures are observing you.

The squirrels have overcome somewhat their hereditary fear, doubtless
because we are more kindly disposed to them. As I take my lunch from my
pocket, thinking to eat it alone, a chipmunk approaches and sniffs at
the package as I put it down. The aroma of bread and butter tickles his
nostrils, suggesting some unaccustomed variety of fare, and presently
he loses all fear and begins tearing the paper. After a little coaxing
he takes a piece of bread from my hand, licking the butter off first
with his small pink tongue. He has no sooner eaten it than another
chipmunk appears and sniffs the whiskers of the first one. He, too, is
overcome by the seductive aroma, and apparently receives some
assurances, for he cautiously approaches and takes a morsel of bread.
The package is returned to my pocket, and both chipmunks climb in
without hesitation, tear off the paper and help themselves. Meanwhile a
third arrives, having somehow learned of the good cheer, and it is not
long before all three are scrambling over me.

One cold February day, when no gray squirrels were to be seen, and the
snow lay deep in the glen, a solitary red squirrel appeared and looked
long in my direction. Then by as direct a course as the ground would
permit, he came toward me, over the intervening boulders, until he
reached the one on which I sat, whereupon he immediately ate the bits
of apple I gave him. He had been with me some little time when I
chanced to look over my shoulder, and there at my elbow was the mink.
The squirrel saw him at once and made off toward the trees. The mink
appeared to take no notice of him, but his presence had evidently
disturbed the harmony of the occasion.

The red squirrel stands in no awe of man, but he is as untamable as
anything in the woods, none the less. Sit quietly under the hemlocks
and the chances are that before long he will be scolding at you from
somewhere in the tree tops. Presently he will come down the trunk,
head foremost, moving mechanically with little jerks, as though pulled
by a string, his hind legs stretched straight out above him. Down
almost to the ground he comes, holding himself well out from the tree
and eyeing you inquisitively. Suddenly he turns and scurries up the
tree, chippering volubly meanwhile, to rush out on a limb and continue
the denunciation, adding emphasis with his tail with which he seems to
gesticulate.

There is no merrier sight in the woods than a pair of gray squirrels in
a frisky mood; it is unmistakable fun. The gray is averse to the
coniferous woods and the red prefers them; thus each has its territory.
Apparently the red is more self-contained and readily amuses himself.
He is of a more caustic mood; his fun is not so childlike and
guileless. Nor is he himself, for there is a dark streak in his
make-up, a certain taint in his disposition and always a satirical note
in his laughter among the tree tops.

Eight inches or more of snow, and a hard crust, and it becomes poor
pickings for the wild things. Here and there are holes where the gray
squirrel has been prospecting. Near by, in most cases, lies the cup of
an acorn and strips of shell, showing the squirrel went directly to the
right place. It is to be observed how many of these excavations are
under pines, sometimes several under a single tree. As late as the 1st
of April I have noticed a gray squirrel busy under a pignut, burying
the nuts which had lain on the ground through the winter. He would
first rapidly shuck them, then dig a small hole, force them well into
the earth with a vigorous push with his jaws, and as rapidly cover them
again. In this way he would bury a dozen in as many minutes, and then
make off through the woods.

Between the squirrels and the mink family the difference is as much a
matter of disposition as of structure. The mink is the evil genius of
the place. His character has written itself in his physiognomy,
glitters in his eye and shows itself in the serpentine motion of his
head. His silence speaks. But his presence is agreeable in a way, for
it is a touch of that savage nature we do not otherwise get without
going back into the wilderness. A squirrel reveals his candor in his
inquisitiveness and in his noisy ways; curiosity gets the better of his
fears. These psychologic differences are as marked with animals as with
men.

I once surprised the weasel in this glen, with a young robin in her
mouth which she had just taken from the nest and was carrying home for
her family. She dropped the bird when I threw a stone, whereupon I
stood by the dead robin and waited, anticipating her return, for I knew
the weasel's boldness of old. Almost immediately the sinister-looking
creature poked her head from the bushes and, without hesitation,
approached and seized the bird where it lay between my feet. Another
stone caused her to drop it again before she had gone far. This time I
moved the robin some little distance away and stood beside it as
before. Soon the weasel reappeared, and going to the spot where she had
last dropped it, became visibly excited on finding it gone. She then
began rapidly following the scent, like a hound, and at length by a
circuitous course, approached, and again took the bird from under my
feet.

Almost every fine day in autumn the woodchuck is to be met. He emerges
from the bushes with deliberation and ambles out into the open where
there is a little clover to tempt him, his tawny legs showing in strong
contrast with his grayish back and scraggly black tail. His enjoyment
is evident; the sun feels good to him. He is a chilly body, and, like
the snakes, cannot get any too much warmth. Now he sits upon his
haunches and takes a deliberate survey, then pokes some greens into his
mouth with his forepaws. If his sharp ears bring him no suspicious
sound, he drops upon all fours and goes to browsing again.

No one has explained why the woodchuck holes up so early in the autumn
and comes out at such an unseasonable time in the spring. He goes in
while there is still plenty to eat, and reappears when there is
scarcely anything to be had. Possibly the habit was acquired in some
remote past when the winter may have come earlier in the year, and the
woodchucks, being a conservative race and loath to change their ways,
have never adapted themselves, but go to bed now as it were in the
middle of the afternoon and get up before daybreak, impelled to this
early rising by hunger. Soon we shall be walking over his head, but it
will not disturb his nap. He will have rolled himself up in a ball for
a four or five months' snooze in company with all the little frogs and
snakes--a sleepy crowd. The chipmunk is likewise a chilly body, but he
is not going to fast--not he--so he lays in a good store of chestnuts
and makes all snug for the cold weather.

While the moral of the ant and the grasshopper will doubtless always
hold good, there is little incentive for the grasshopper to become
thrifty as few would live to enjoy the results. But the woodchuck might
well profit by the example of the chipmunk, who loves his comfort and a
well-stocked larder in which to snooze away the winter months, a round
of dinners and after-dinner naps. Besides his hordes of beech and
chestnuts, he is credited with gathering the seeds of the buttercup as
well as buckwheat and grass seed. I have seen him on the tips of
witch-hazel twigs biting off the nutlets of the preceding year. He has
some variety at his table then. The buttercups must be in the nature of
a delicacy--his sweetcakes perhaps.

As the weather grows colder the vegetation seems to droop hourly, the
bare earth becoming visible, except where the dry leaves have roofed
themselves over the huckleberry bushes or in the thick tangle of
briers. The rabbit must feel himself rather too much in evidence as the
ground is thus exposed, and perforce relies more on his protective
coloration to escape notice. An adept at dissimulation, he turns into a
stump and remains so indefinitely. Yet looking at him recently, as he
sat motionless on some dry leaves among the bare stems of the blackcap
raspberries, I was struck with how poor a refuge his colors really do
afford when once your eye is upon him. At the first glance, and before
he had come into the mental vision as a rabbit, he appeared as a small
grayish stump covered with buff-tinted shelf fungi. But the moment I
looked sharply at him, he was a rabbit in every detail. His colors did
not greatly harmonize with the oak leaves on which he sat, yet he
allowed me to approach and walk around him. It is all a matter of the
attention; by remaining quiet the animal does not arrest the eye
readily, but once this is directed upon him the disguise is seen to be
very thin.

Save for his nose, which wobbled slightly, he was motionless as a
stone. After some time his ear moved gently, much as a leaf is turned
over by the wind, but his eye never winked and its expression was one
of extreme alertness. On too near an approach he made off in haste.
Noting his direction, I followed to see if I could again locate him.
For some time no rabbit was visible, when I chanced again upon a little
gray stump covered with buff-tinted fungi, which appeared this time on
the pine-needles and just within the charmed precincts of the briers.

I produced an apple as a peace offering and in token of my good-will
and desire to be of service to the tribe of gray rabbits. He remained
like a stone while the bits of apple descended about him and lay at a
tempting distance. At last there was a more vigorous wobbling of the
nose, the long ears moved--as a leaf turns--and with two little hops he
approached and accepted the token, and we were brought together in
amity in the silent woods. A humble offering, indeed, but it served for
the moment to bring me in touch with the wild and to strike a common
chord. The seemingly impassable barrier of caste, which lies between
man and the wild things, was crossed, and we broke bread together.

After a light fall of snow it is instructive to read what the rabbit
has written in his diary. Such scattered notes as he leaves are wholly
personal and do not seem to imply interest in anything but himself. You
may see where he has hopped through his runways and stopped now and
then when the necessity appealed to him of removing certain briers to
keep the passageway clear. Sometimes it is a stem of the catbrier;
again a rose or blackberry. In every case it is cut obliquely and as
sharply and neatly as with a knife. Frequently stems are severed
thickly set with thorns and prickers, and the wonder is how he closed
his teeth upon them without getting an unpleasant mouthful. Hundreds of
cuts reveal never a slip or break, but each is sharply defined as if
done by one stroke of a razor. His track shows places where he sat upon
his haunches, and where he stood up to reach the buds of a stunted wild
apple; again he followed the shore of the pond and nibbled the small
willows and clethra. Occasionally he appears to have cut a large brier
merely for practice in using his teeth.

Rabbit and fox are outlaws and without rights. They are hunted to
death; hence they live by their wits if they live at all. It has become
second nature to them to proceed indirectly, to break the scent and
double on their tracks whenever occasion offers. The fox knows few foes
besides men and dogs, but the rabbit must circumvent owls, weasels,
minks and foxes as well. Hence I bow to the rabbit as to a superior
intelligence: one deeply versed in the ancient lore of woodcraft and
possessing knowledge as yet unrevealed to us. Does he carry some charm
whereby the earth opens and receives him in need, some tarn hut in
which he becomes invisible, or does the fabled St.-John's-wort exercise
for his race a special protection? What shall fill the place of the
wild things when they are swept from the earth? Why not tolerate an
occasional fox if only to hear him yap, and to have the assurance that
there is still this much untamed?

In such a timid world, where fear of man is so large a factor, one is
struck by the least evidence of self-assurance. In view of this I
entertain a covert admiration for the skunk. Fear rests lightly on his
shoulders. Meet him in the woods, teetering along, and he is the less
concerned of the two. His imperturbability is his leading
characteristic. In this he is the very opposite of the coon. But he
knows how terrible is the weapon he carries, how vulnerable the nose of
man. The nose is the point of attack; he would slay you through your
olfactories. It is seldom any one says a good word for the skunk. He
must needs be a villain and a chicken thief who smells thus to heaven.
Yet in fact there are bolder thieves in town than he, with more
sinister designs on the hen-roost. It is impolite to mention him, as
though his name were as unsavory as his odor. Men deal more kindly with
his memory, for he is permitted to undergo a commercial
transfiguration, to rise triumphant from the vat, henceforth to be
taken to our bosoms as Alaska sable.

The skunk receives no credit for the countless beetles he grubs from
the earth. No more does the mole who suffers for the sins of the
meadow-mouse. They are victims of prejudice. When I see a mole emerge
from the earth, I feel I am looking upon an inhabitant of another
sphere--the underworld; one as strange to me as I am to him. What use
has he for the sun? He cares not for celestial light, but for
subterranean fires only.

In the pond above the glen is a colony of muskrats. It antedates the
memory of the oldest inhabitants, and the muskrats were in all
probability the first settlers themselves. The huts, which lie
scattered through the sedge and cattails, are some of them flat while
others are high and dome-shaped. Their number does not seem to vary
much from year to year, whereas muskrats are said to be very prolific.
What, then, becomes of all the young? I have never known of any one
trapping or killing them in this pond. It may be the old mink in the
glen, and many another, make this their hunting-ground and thus keep
down the number.

These queer neighbors pique our curiosity. What manner of life do they
lead indoors? They take some rude pleasure and have dull animal
thoughts perhaps. As you stamp upon the ice and slap your hands to keep
from freezing, the muskrat sits serenely below enjoying the comforts of
the pond, and quite unaware the mercury has dropped to zero. He has
built him a house and stocked his cellar, and what cares he. As snug as
a mouse in a cheese, he has taken the precaution to make his home of
his favorite dish. Let the world freeze, then, if it will, he nibbles
the walls of his room till it thaws again. Consider the interior of
that dwelling, what a murky house is there, its front door under water
and never a window.

Muskrats repair and enlarge their huts in the fall, and perhaps
subsequently gnaw out as much from the inside as they add to the
exterior. The walls are made of grass and sedge roots, together with
spatter-docks and bur-reeds. During the summer you might not suspect
the presence of one, hidden as they are in the cattails and rank growth
of sedge. As the vegetation dies down in autumn, the huts loom
proportionately, so that they come prominently into view by November;
and then, on some fine cold morning, in place of the reedy pond,
appears a sheet of ice with isolated domes rising here and there. From
these, the muskrat and his family travel to their feeding-grounds. They
have chosen their estate at the bottom of the pond--rich lands for
which none contend with them.

In fact our wild neighbors all live in a dim world of shadows, in which
they lurk like phantoms. They have retreated into the night, and for
days together you may not meet one. But the new fallen snow reveals
their presence.



THE WINTER WOODS


The first snow-storm of the season never becomes an old story. It
retains its charm indefinitely, to all original minds at least, and to
such as have cherished any degree of simplicity. Here is a mimic
invasion of an elemental beauty which conquers us by reason of its very
gentleness. We are soothed and beguiled into submission. Tempestuous
winds call forth our resistance; we front them with set teeth. But who
can resist the silent snow descending as if to lay the world under a
soft enchantment? The woods are renewed and reclothed in virgin purity.
It is as if old scores were wiped out and the world were again a
spotless thing.

What can be more companionable than the falling snow? Its touch is so
caressing, its advent so silent in the open, its voice so pleasing as
it sifts through the pine-needles. The first solitary flakes approach
with the gentle effect of preparing one for the miracle to ensue. A
calm settles over all, as though these were indeed the messengers of
peace.

Recently there fell such a clinging and abundant snow as comes perhaps
only once in a season, and some years not at all. The woods were
literally buried and saplings everywhere bent to the ground beneath its
weight. It enveloped the pines until they became miniature Alps in the
landscape, while among the oaks were gleaming corridors and marble
halls. The open, barren aspect common to winter was gone, and the dense
walls had shut in again as in summer, but now crystalline and dazzling.

This is perhaps Nature's greatest transformation. In a single night
have been erected such palaces as were never seen in Persia. What a
bold, free hand wrought here! In the thousand domes and arches is a
massive architecture, relieved by the utmost delicacy, as though Nature
said, "Behold, I show you a miracle." A miracle indeed! Here have
wrought the genii of the air while mortals slept, and all that was to
be heard was the rustling of their wings. At such times the woods grow
suddenly strange and unfamiliar. They so lend themselves to the
enchantment we are lost in our own wood-lot. Familiar paths are
obliterated by pendulous boughs drooping to the earth, while in the
pasture tree-sparrows hop upon the snow among the protruding tops of
the tallest ragweeds.

Realize if you can in your walk, over how many sleepers you step all
unknown; how many woodchucks in their burrows, and frogs in the mud
under the ice; how many torpid snakes and dozing chipmunks. Here is an
enchanted household--underground. They are at peace and their timid
hearts know no fear. The dreaming toad has no terror of writhing
blacksnakes, and the snoozing woodchuck has forgotten the dog.
Presently they will awake to hunger and fear again. Woodchucks will be
up long before breakfast, to go shivering in the cold dawn of the year
waiting for the table to be spread. Snakes do not come out till the sun
is well up, to lie basking in the noonday heat, catching the first
unwary grasshoppers.

Every fresh snowfall makes some revelation of its own, recording
crepuscular journeys and prowlings in the night. The broad track of the
skunk meanders in and out among the bushes. That he had no definite
direction, took never a straight course, nor apparently did he hurry,
is in itself evidence of his phlegmatic temperament and leisurely
habit of mind. Footprints of the ruffed grouse show that he has on his
snow-shoes, inasmuch as they are feathered, broad and lobed rather than
angular. The squirrel leaves evidence of his impetuous ways, moving
always impulsively, and the snow makes plain record of the fact. Tracks
of deer seem to bespeak their innocence, as that of the fox might be
said to have a sinister purport, doubtless because the hoof prints have
a gentle suggestion and imply the herbivorous diet.

In the winter walk the eye finds relatively so little to hold it, that
it rivets itself upon minute details, dissecting that which might pass
unnoticed at other seasons. Form and outline come into prominence while
color is in abeyance. We must now perforce judge the trees by this
standard. Who shall describe the winter beauty of the beech as it
stands stripped and naked to the winds like an athlete, every muscle
and sinew in evidence, every outline expressive of reserve power and
self-assurance--a clean-limbed, stout-hearted tree, dauntless before
all gales? Its trunk is a superb torso, and with its roots it reaches
down to the heart of the earth, draws sustenance therefrom and derives
heat from that deep-lying warmth below all frost lines. No parasite
this, no surface weed, but the sturdy child of Earth herself, suckled
by a Spartan mother. Look upon an ancient beech, bared thus to the
storm, and the chest involuntarily expands, as though we too should
take firmer hold somewhere and stand more erect. The shellbark is as
shaggy, raw-boned and loose-jointed as the beech is trim and closely
knit. Its bare branches are not clean-cut against the sky but swollen
and distorted like knotted hands of toil--horny, crooked fingers
upraised to the heavens. What rude strength is their portion who stand
thus alone and derive from the earth as befits the stalwart--buffeting,
solitary and unyielding, the winter gales.

[Illustration: WINTER COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

As the trees are leafless, the bark is now more in evidence. Moosewood
looks slender and striped as a ribbon-snake, and limbs of the
hop-hornbeam have the appearance of sinews. Where a black and a white
oak stand near together, the difference in color is as evident as
between a negro and a white man. The white birch is to the winter woods
what the dogwood is in spring, the maple in autumn. How is it the
ancients did not metamorphose the fairest of all nymphs into this
tree, so distinctly feminine is its beauty? Portions of bark outlast
the wood, and are to be found standing erect and empty. The tree has
departed, bequeathing its fair skin in token of a vanished loveliness.
Now and then the yellow birch is seen in all its beauty, the golden
inner bark shining through a silver filigree. To look at this tree is
like looking at a picture or reading a poem: one feels somehow
refreshed. Nor is the black birch without charm; its bark has a dusky
beauty, and again shows fine wood colors and metallic tints similar to
the black cherry. This fine luster the birch has in an eminent degree
while most trees show it only on their small branches, if at all.

Club-mosses appear to be a lesser growth of pines, a pygmy folk
dwelling at the feet of the elder race. Here are miniature trunks and
branches bearing miniature cones, perfect little conifers no higher
than a chickadee. Ground-pine and trailing Christmas green thrive
together on the bank, the latter with stems a yard long, which, while
they grow at one end, die at the other. These little plants are crisp
and green and refresh the eye on winter days, as does the Christmas
fern, which affords a pleasant encounter at a time when one meets few
acquaintances. It has, moreover, a certain charm of its own which
doubtless lies in the crispness of the fronds and clear-cut outlines of
the pinnæ. The marginal shield-fern is another acquaintance to be
looked for on the winter walk, and everywhere the hardy polypody, which
is as much a child of winter as the little spiny cladonia that clusters
about its roots and clings to the same granite ledge.

Let there come a warm rain, the high blueberries redden their twigs and
the lichens renew their tints--quite as though Nature had softened her
heart. These lichens suddenly become conspicuous with a sort of gentle
prominence, and mildly compel attention; on the oaks the yellow
cetraria, on the white pines, olive, slate-colored and blue-green
parmelias. Had faun and satyr thus carved upon the forest trees the
name of some fair Rosalind among the nymphs, they could not have
wrought in more fitting and altogether sylvan characters.

A common necessity and hardship hold the birds together in closer bonds
so that they are impelled to consort in little roving
bands--chickadees, creepers, kinglets and nuthatches, with often a
single downy woodpecker accompanying them. If one chance to drop a
morsel he will descend to the ground in search of it. He will not waste
a spider's egg, so severe has been the lesson in economy. In zero
weather the jay forgets to be saucy, and if there is a glaze on the
snow, his native impertinence seems to ooze from him, and he becomes
meek enough. Taking a weazened acorn from the tree, he holds the nut
with one claw, and with vigorous taps of his bill tears it open. After
extracting the frozen kernel, he drops the shell with a trace of his
customary impertinence, as though feeling in somewhat better spirits
for even this poor repast. A bone nailed to a tree is inducement for
him to stay near the house, but not when he can get acorns readily.

The board may fairly creak with its weight of partridgeberries,
beechnuts and acorns, many of the latter crushed and available, and
then in a night this plentiful feast is put out of sight under a
six-inch layer of snow, to which the next day adds a glaze as if to
seal irrevocably the doom of all bob-whites. A fast has been declared
in effect, as peremptorily as by any medieval pope, to be broken only
with an occasional leaf bud or the poor seeds of the ragweed. But the
good sun is a trusty friend, and snow is only so much water. Presently
berries and acorns again come into view.

There is no more touching note in nature than the bob-white's at this
season, as wandering together in the snow in search of their scanty
fare they utter from time to time those low but distinct calls in which
they seemingly express their solicitude. June itself has no sweeter
song than this note of the winter woods, albeit it is such a plaintive
one: mother-notes these, and child-voices of the hunted, full of a wild
pathos,--tender voices which to us have been but the inarticulate cries
of the dumb. The birds feed frequently on the crushed acorns lying in
the path, and the jay at times participates to the extent of taking an
acorn from the feast and eating it in the branches above, where he is a
good sentinel, though prone to imitate the quailing of the
red-shouldered hawk when the feast is at its height, to the general
discomfiture and alarm of the diners below.

Birds become less suspicious as the mercury falls, and they are hard
pressed for food. The snow around the ragweeds is thickly covered with
the tracks of bob-whites, like those of chickens, broad and firm, but
with hardly any hind toe mark at all, as though they walked about on
tiptoe. Very different from these are the long, triangular tracks of
the jays, showing where they have hopped upon the snow. It is thus
fairly tramped down and strewn with leaves and chaff where the
bob-whites have fed, leaving these husks in token of their frugal meal.
Such seed must be very small provender for these birds--much like a
diet of crumbs for a hungry man. Goldfinches, juncos and tree-sparrows
seek the same meager repast. The musical flocks of redpolls fare better
in the alders around the pond. These are not to be seen every day, any
more than the pine-siskins--perhaps not at all during several years.
But occasionally an enormous flock will arrive and settle in the alders
with all the chattering and commotion of a social and hungry company.
As the seeds are shaken down upon the ice, the birds soon leave the
bushes, and are under the table, so to speak.

Crossbills have the easier time, feeding as they do on the seeds of the
pine, for these are always available. No sound seems better to accord
with the spirit of a still cold winter day than this faint crackling of
opening cones, forced asunder by the shearing motion of the peculiar
bills of these birds. Surely here is an adaptation to definite ends.
Nature produces a cone that cannot readily be opened, and, as if
relenting, produces a bird to open it. The wings of the seeds come
zigzagging to the ground as the feast continues overhead--all that is
destined to be planted.

The lumbermen come into the woods with the crossbills, and everywhere
is heard the winter music of the ax. It is good music enough, but it
has a sinister purport, and the swish and boom of falling trees is a
sad refrain. Ancient pines are laid low, singing to the last their
brave and beautiful song, which seems to come, not directly from
overhead, but remotely from the empyrean, as though it issued from the
distant Court of the Winds. Of the pantheon of trees the village elm is
the last to hold our homage; we have dethroned our idols. As the sound
of the ax breaks the stillness, I find myself instinctively turning in
the opposite direction, to escape that which is soon to follow--the
swan-song of the forest primeval.



LAUGHING WATERS


There are days when the sea is austere and unapproachable, when its
mood is too lofty and severe. But the pond, fringed with alders and
button-bushes, smiles in the sunshine and is friendly and inviting. It
is more on the level of our every-day thought. Not always are we
consoled by the vast and sublime, and we crave even more the
companionable and social aspects of Nature. Grim though the
surroundings of granite ledge and somber pines, the nestling pond is
winsome, notwithstanding. Never forbidding, never altogether distant in
its mood, even though frozen, it is a cheerful and alluring personality
to which we are drawn from afar.

About a pond as about a mountain there is a kind of magnetism. A new
field of discovery, there is ever the hope that from a new scene we
shall gain a fresh impression. Every pond holds out this possibility
and invites exploration of its shores, as if _there_ were the promised
land. But over and above this is that element of personality, a charm
purely feminine, and eluding any attempt to hold it.

Peculiarly sensitive to light and air, a pond is susceptible of little
moods that do not come to the sea. It is the eye of the landscape.
Dawn, high noon and dusk are each reflected there. Its afternoon mood
is not like that of the morning any more than is our own. The more
passive it is, the more perfectly it reflects the heavens. At all time
it draws to itself light from the sky, and when the surrounding woods
are swallowed in the advancing darkness, still gleams with a faint
opalescence. These pale glimmers illumine the bogs, where a pool has
caught and retained the daylight, or rather the spectral light of dawn.
One appears to look through this serene and reflecting surface into the
heart of some other wood, darkly mysterious and impenetrable, which
vanishes when the wind blows, as if the curtain were drawn.

Gently as snowflakes, the leaves detach themselves and settle on the
ponds, to sail away like diminutive barks upon those friendly seas.
Numberless sails of scarlet and gold softly scud before the breeze,
threading the inlets between the button-bushes and crowding the
miniature bays; oriental craft these, of rich aspect; caciques and
royal barges upon some Golden Horn. Here and there, one more
venturesome steers boldly out into the open, carried by favoring winds,
and makes some foreign port among the lily-pads. You may become
enamored of a winsome pond on October days, a mystical beauty veiled in
autumn haze, only to find her mood changed for the reserve and
uncommunicativeness of winter.

When the pond freezes over we experience something of that feeling
which comes with the first snow, a delightful sense of novelty, briefly
entertained each season. The water has suddenly lost its mobility and
become passive and expressionless, as one in a hypnotic state. A great
calm has settled upon the earth; the winter sleep is in the air and the
ponds have succumbed with the woodchuck. Only the chickadees, scolding
and gossiping in the pitch-pines, seem to be awake and unaffected by
the change. A cold bluish light pervades the leafless woods, reflected
from the snow and appearing to emanate from the ground rather than the
sky. The earth is wrapped in silence, yet it is not austere nor
repellent. One _feels_ this stillness, which appeals to some sixth
sense, and is more acceptable at times than any music,--is itself the
most heavenly music.

Far across the valley the steam of a passing locomotive rises slowly,
and then, like the opening of a flower, unfolds in snow-white
voluptuous petals and remains as if carved in the still air. A shaft of
light reaches the eye from a distant pool of molten silver at the base
of purple hills. All around are little sparkling lights of icicles,
flashing their pure rays in the sun. It is the magic water, the protean
thing so full of light, laughter and music. Once it was laughter; now
in the silence it is light.

All at once the pond is alive with skaters, its solitary aspect
transformed by this merry invasion. Boys cutting figure eights suggest
whirligigs. Myriad black figures, clear cut in the pale light, move in
and out with undulating rhythm, as on a surface of polished steel. The
pond, now more companionable than ever, becomes a playground, and we
never so much as reflect upon the strangeness of it. Something there is
in this unbending on the part of Nature which puts us in a good humor,
for certainly people are never more good-natured than on the ice. Their
habitual stiffness melts away as readily as ice melts in the sun. They
experience a thaw and become democratic.

To skate over meadows and into inaccessible bogs gives one a taste for
exploration. It is a new freedom and perhaps the next thing to flying.
Seen through the clear "black" ice, familiar objects have an added
interest; the pebbles on the bottom, the spagnum, the lily-pads, all
give the impression of being severed from our world, though so plainly
in view. The skater glides in and out amongst cassandra and andromeda,
clethra and black alders--wintry jungles, enlivened only by red
winterberries--where in summer is the haunt of the rose pogonia and the
white-fringed orchis. Who would imagine now that the swamp was capable
of producing anything so exquisite, that it held beneath the ice the
seeds of such beauty?

The most friendly voice in Nature is the song of the brook. Not the
wind in the pines, not the voice of the sea, can compare with this for
true sociability. These are always somewhat remote, somewhat mystical
in our ears, but the song of the brook is cheerfulness itself. Its
_bonhomie_ is irresistible. It gradually prevails over any whim and
wins us to a sociable and contented mood. Though the world may seem
discordant enough, there is always this wholesome note.

No two brooks are alike. As the result of the character of the country
through which they flow, they impress one as having strongly defined
personalities. A creek flowing sluggishly through the alluvial
districts of the South is insipid compared to a mountain stream in New
England. Your mountain brook is a strong, salient personality which
dominates the landscape. It sweeps in bold curves about the base of
cliffs, and contracts into a mere mill race cut in the distorted schist
and gneiss. Its suggestion is wholly of savage strength, a rude,
forceful thing of the wilderness; its song a masterful strain, a
triumphant chant of power. Again, there are merry little streams
tinkling in the sunlight.

In cutting down its channel, the brook may reach a stratum seemingly
richer than any above, so that in April its banks become a garden.
While scarcely a flower is to be seen on the hillsides, the fertile
floor of the ravine is carpeted with spurred violets, groundnut and
spring beauties.

One such as this falls into a glen over a little precipice, spreading
itself out like a fine veil which ceaselessly undulates in the breeze,
and now and again floats away in mist ere it can reach the pool below.
Under the overhanging rock, Alpine woodsia and cliff-brake thickly
cluster, while on narrow shelves are hanging gardens of dicentra, and
in the crannies, little patches of mountain saxifrage.

Below is a golden sheen where the spicebush is in flower, and a shimmer
of pale green about the early willows. From the glen comes the song of
the ruby kinglet, bubbling up and dying away. Incomparably wild, it
seems to express the abandon of a spirit ever free. All the while the
companionable brook gurgles and tinkles its reposeful melody, and the
white veil of the waterfall undulates softly in its dark cavern. The
air is full of that indescribable suggestion of spring, which is like
hashish, and casts a glamor over the world. Gradually one is imbued
with a sylvan consciousness and attains to a rapt and intimate point of
view.

It is curious, as one follows down the ravine, to hear the different
voices. The brook seems as if inhabited by a number of spirits
throughout its length, some whispering, some laughing, others singing.
Not only are the voices pitched in various keys, but the quality of
tone differs essentially. Some are loud and portentous; others,
melodious, liquid gurgles. In one place the voice implies an intimate
and confidential mood, so gentle, so exquisite, that the full import of
the musical conversation is felt only in midstream,--whispers and
murmurs which have almost a ventriloquial effect.

Countless bubbles glide down the current and vanish one by one.
Sunbeams dance over the rapids and out upon the pool, and then, as the
sun goes under a cloud, the stream as quickly takes on a somber mood.
Presently comes the melodious patter of rain-drops on the ground, an
even, sustained note, very different from any voice of the brook as it
dimples and answers the rain, one soft voice replying to the other.
Already little pools form in hollows of the rock and reflect light, so
that the face of Nature is perceptibly brighter.

Considering this aspect of the streams, it is easy to see how the
primitive mind came to personify them, since the brooks have motion,
voice and expression, ripple and laugh in the sunshine and are
responsive to the wind and the sky. They are still divinities to the
fisherman with whom he comes into an ever closer affiliation, as gentle
and poetic as he may be qualified to enjoy. The murmuring waters, the
whispering trees, the silver and cupreous gleams of trout are the facts
with which he becomes enamored, while he loses affinity with the world,
which slips into the background.



THE MOUNTAINS


He knew the mountains, who said, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the
hills from whence cometh my help"; knew them in some intimate,
spiritual way, for his words imply a noble association and
companionship. Wordsworth understood them in this way, but not as the
mountaineer knows them. They are ethereal dream-mountains the poet
sees, rather than actual rock and soil.

On the horizon the mountains wrap themselves in mysterious light and
color and seem invested with certain qualities which they lose near at
hand,--as a cloud, so beautiful an object floating in the heavens, is
but a fog bank once we are enveloped in it. Distance does actually lend
enchantment. The range beyond has always some attraction this one
lacks. In truth, mountains are illusory objects, and, to the most
matter-of-fact point of view, are something more than rock. That
marvelous purple of the distant hills, assumed as an imperial robe,
slips away as we approach, and we find them dressed in plain brown
homespun. Never do we as much as touch the hem of that royal mantle.

A symbol of the unchangeable, they are none the less marvelously
sensitive to the play of light, and thus appear to vary with the
conditions of the atmosphere. There are days when they seem to
approach, and times again when they recede and become distant and
nebulous. This magic-play of light proceeded from their birth, and goes
on forever, the unceasing illusion, the beautiful witchery.

From the violet shadows of their bases they rise through a stratum of
ethereal blue to emerge glistening white. Now they are savage and
defiant in their somber shadows, ramparts and battlements; again,
opalescent, lying like cumulous clouds on the horizon. What a vast bulk
is yonder spur, massy and ponderous in this light, but tomorrow it may
appear immaterial as thistle-down and to hang suspended in the ambient
air. In the morning the crags and cliffs stand out naked and dazzling
on the great rock mass of the peak; yet before night every detail may
be obliterated and the mountain appear a lowering mass, dull and grim.

It is with mountains somewhat as it is with people--there must be
perspective if they are to appear all serene and beautiful. In the
distant chain the details are lost, and we receive a single distinct
impression of serenity, as though they stood there a type of the fixed
and eternal. But in among them there are everywhere signs of
convulsion, everywhere evidence of change and decay. It is in the
distance, then, that the poet loves them best, as a beautiful vision,
which lures and beckons him. It is to these he lifts his eyes, from
these he receives his inspiration, for they are ethereal and opalescent
and play upon his fancy, provoking him to subtle thoughts of the Ideal,
rose-colored as themselves.

They who do not live where they can see the mountains miss somewhat in
their lives, as do they who never hear the sea. It would seem as though
one or the other were essential to a normal human environment,
providing that changeful beauty which forever stimulates the
imagination. We necessarily lift up our eyes to the mountains with some
corresponding elevation of thought. Again, from those desolate heaps of
granite we receive the suggestion of something immutable and
permanent--delusion though it may be. Whatever convulsions they may
have known were birth throes and growing pains. Venerable beyond human
conception, their life is measured, not in years, nor yet in centuries,
but in epochs and eons of time; and out of this inconceivable
antiquity, with its tumultuous youth, has come repose at last--a serene
old age.

One readily understands in the mountains how the old myths of the gods
and giants arose. Why should not the gods have dwelt on Olympus--and
here in the Rockies as well? What place more fitting? A setting, stern
and heroic, and not altogether hospitable to the puny race of man.
There are places of such sublimity and desolation, you feel you have
looked in upon Olympus when the gods were away, and that any moment
they may return with their thunderbolts. Wandering alone in these
regions is like an excursion into legendary lore--and one would better
wander alone, for in our deepest moments the mountains are company
enough.

One companion you may have--should have, in the mountains--a horse, a
kindly and sociable animal, who knows your foibles as you know his,
and is willing to humor them. He must be a trail-horse, sure-footed and
not finicky about fording mountain streams. If you do not come into
some renewed sense of freedom, if the solitude does not speak to you,
if you do not become better acquainted with yourself, it is because you
really have not surrendered to the genius of the hills but have come
preoccupied with other and lesser things. Thoreau did not so greatly
exaggerate when he said one must make his will and settle his affairs
before he was ready to walk.

One does not tire of sauntering through the mountains. They seem always
to invite. Mystery lurks in the ravines. There is no sound but the
distant tinkle of a cow-bell, which is pleasant music. Over the ranges
and the velvet folds of the _mesa_ the lights and shadows play like a
passing smile.

Though the ideal eludes on a nearer view, we nevertheless derive some
larger sense of freedom from personal contact with the range. The foot
must know the trail; and this association yields that which no road can
ever give--a good understanding with the mountain itself. As far as the
eye can see, neither fence, nor house, nor road; only the somber
forest, the naked ledge. While this tramping over trails hardens the
muscles, it toughens also the sinews of the mind. One has mountain
thoughts as well as mountain air. The single drop of aboriginal blood
tingles in the veins, while the tendency is strong to revert to the
wild and to a more rude and savage life. There is experienced some
furtive desire, as of a wild animal, to scurry away into these grim
ravines, or to leap from crag to crag with the bighorn,--presumably a
sort of mountain madness, which is dispelled on the descent to the
village.

Who can hear the wild song of the ouzel and not feel an answering
thrill? Perched upon a rock in the midst of the rapids, he is the
incarnation of all that is untamed, a wild spirit of the mountain
stream, as free as a rain-drop or a sunbeam. How solitary he is, a lone
little bird, flitting from rock to rock through the desolate gorge,
like some spirit in a Stygian world. Yet he sings continually as he
takes his solitary way along the stream, and bursts of melody, so eery
and sylvan as to fire the imagination, come to the ear, sounding above
the roar of the torrent. Like Orpheus, he seeks in the nether world of
that wild gorge for his Eurydice, now dashing through the rapids, now
peering into some pool, as if to discover her fond image in its depths,
and calling ever to lure her thence from that dark retreat up into the
world of light and love. This bird, more than all others, embodies the
wild. In him the spirit of the mountain finds a voice.

Here we make the acquaintance of the rocks as no where else. One
discovers their individuality and comes to feel that even they may be
companionable. They have much to say if only one can hear it; but like
the aged, their conversation is all of the past. The foibles of their
youth are still to be traced in faulting and non-conformity. How
tumultuous was that youth; how serene their old age! Stratified or
volcanic, each tells its own story. The sandstone cliffs speak of the
sea, which preceded them, and of which they are the sediment merely.
Upon that shore no human eye ever looked, and yet it is registered
here, as the ruins of Mitla record a race unknown to history. The cliff
is a chapter in a biography written before the advent of man. Long
after the sea had disappeared, some convulsions upheaved the strata and
threw them on end. Here and there in the cañons glimpses are to be had
of the granite or porphyry which underlies the sandstone--the very
corner-stone of the hills. It is as though one had come upon the most
ancient papyrus of the world or unearthed the first Babylonian
inscription.

It seems incredible the stream should have sawed its way through so
many feet of rock and produced the cañon. Day and night it eats its way
inward, like a saw cutting to the heart of a forest tree. But see what
the rain will do--so gentle a thing as the falling rain. Together they
have hewn the cliffs, which are like vast rock tombs with their
Egyptian massiveness. A filmy cloud floats down the gorge, trailing
along the edge of the precipices, an intangible and shadowy form,
spiritlike and ethereal, receiving the rays of the setting sun and
becoming golden and then rose-colored, and dissolving away at last into
the invisible. This fugitive, shadowy thing, this bit of mist, is the
mountain sculptor.

The rocks were the prototype of the temple, as was the forest of the
Gothic cathedral, the date-palm of the Byzantine dome. But there
worships here only the cañon-wren. He is the high priest who lifts up
his voice in these rock temples--a sweet utterance delivered with the
usual abandon of the wrens.

Above the cliffs, on the precipitous slopes, is the impress of still
another agent. The ledge, smoothed as by a plane, and the scattered
boulders amidst the dead timber and small aspens, give it an appearance
of extreme desolation. Here, where now the Indian paint-brush glows in
summer, the glacier crept snail-like down the mountain, from its cradle
in some _cirque_ above the forest. Timber-line is the frontier, the
boundary between the verdant world and the land of snow and ice.

It was the glaciers which in the days of their strength chiseled the
lake basins every one, and began the great cañons on which the streams
have been at work ever since. At the same time they laid out the
_moraines_, like so many parks, where the pines and the spruce have
planted themselves. They did the rough work and prepared the great rock
masses for the finer work of the rain and frost and wind--as the
stone-cutter precedes the sculptor.

These lakes in many cases became the glacial meadows of today, which
are like jewels set in the vast matrix of rock. Out of elemental
changes, terrible in their immensity, came some of the most charming
of all wild gardens,--as a rainbow follows a thunder-storm. These
serene and altogether beautiful aspects of Nature were the outcome of
tumult and passion--earthquakes, avalanches, lava-flows, glaciers, and
now these idyllic meadows, beloved of bees and blossoms.

There is a certain cañon hereabout which is closed abruptly at one end
by a precipice, over which descends a considerable stream. This fall is
a thing of beauty, and so holds the eye that few think of scaling the
cliffs to see what may be beyond. But, as it happens, there lies above,
and sundered from the world beneath, one of the most delightful little
valleys in the Rockies--a long, narrow defile, flanked by perpendicular
cliffs of pink and red and buff sandstone.

All day the black-headed grosbeak sings in the aspens, dropping from
one reverie into another. You may hear the voice of the green-tailed
towhee, and the cañon-wren singing from his rock temple. The stream
winds along the floor of the little valley, which is some eight
thousand feet above the sea, now through quaking aspens and now under
spruce, and its voice is as the murmuring of pines. This is the haunt
of the shooting-star and the Alpine mertensia, delicate and exquisite
blossoms, wooed by fugitive sunbeams and by the floating mist; which
dwell in a subdued and tempered light amidst the Alpine silence, as in
some floral cloister. Such are the rare and beautiful places of earth,
which the mountain barriers defend and the clouds veil, as if they
cherished here the last vestige of the fading youth and innocence of
the old world.

There are days when the clouds shut down upon the little valley,
veiling it from mortal eyes. The cliffs and buttes seem to float in
air; the trail becomes a path to the clouds. You have only to go up on
some ridge, and the pinnacles, looming in the fog, appear to be forlorn
rocks in mid-ocean. It is the isolation again of the sea and of the
desert.

At such times one receives impressions from the mountains which bring
to mind the ocean, as if these retained memories--as they still bear
traces--of the waters which gave them birth. This relation, once so
intimate, is now sundered and only to be inferred. Where is the ancient
sea which mothered the Rockies? The desert is its vast bed, now
unoccupied. It vanished forever, leaving its impress upon the
mountains. And now this sea-child is in its dotage, and it too dwindles
and wanes century by century. But the fog still recalls the mother-sea,
and out of the forgotten past conjures up little waves to dance upon a
primordial beach.



THE FOREST


One who is accustomed only to our eastern woods can have little idea of
the true forest as it occurs in the Sierra Nevada, which is a world of
itself, as distinct from any idea of the "woods" as the snow peaks, the
colossal granite domes and the great cañons of the Sierra are different
from the mild topography of the Berkshires.

Here is a forest primeval such as was never known east of the Cascade,
not, at least, since that remote period when the sequoia flourished in
Greenland. Man wanders, a mere pygmy, in a Brobdingnagian world of vast
columnar trunks. This is the true home of the great conifers, the
sequoia, silver fir, sugar-pine and Douglas spruce,--the magnificent of
the earth. There is no wilderness of saplings as in the woods, and the
general openness of the forest is remarkable, so that one has
far-reaching vistas through splendid arches and is able to appreciate
the size and character of individual trees.

Distinct from all others, the sequoias are a race apart. The big tree
and the redwood of the Coast Range are the only surviving members of
that ancient family, the giants of the foreworld. Their immense trunks
might be the fluted columns of some noble order of architecture,
surviving its builders like the marble temples of Greece,--columns
three hundred feet high and thirty feet through at the base. Such a
vast nave, such majestic aisles, such sublime spires, only the forest
cathedrals know. Symmetrical silver firs, giant cedars and spruce grow
side by side with sugar-pines of vast and irregular outline, whose huge
branches, like outstretched arms, hold aloft the splendid cones--such
is the ancient wood.

It is doubtful if these giant conifers are really as companionable as
our eastern beeches and maples and oaks. The company is almost too
grandiose; their dignity is overpowering. One could never, for
instance, form such a pleasant acquaintance with a great sugar-pine as
with a slender white birch. Fatherly white oaks and village elms seem
to ally themselves with man as protecting deities of the wood. But this
great race of trees has little affinity with our world. Be that as it
may, there is perhaps no loftier association in Nature than contact
with the forest. It is the force of a tremendous personality--calm,
inspiring, majestic. Like the sea, it is not to be grasped in its
entirety, and the mind responds to it, as some giant sugar-pine to the
wind. These sequoias, which may easily be from two to four thousand
years old, have seen men come and go as so many squirrels, or as
bubbles on the stream; they have outlived empires, and may again.

As the forest inspires in sensitive minds the religious sentiment, so
does it impose upon all alike, silence. Self-effacement is the law.
Wild animals merge into their environment and have acquired protective
coloration through force of necessity. The Indian has come to imitate
them; it has become second nature to him to move stealthily, to stand
and sit immovable for long at a time, to speak little. To the woodsman,
silence is more congenial than speech; his wood life has made him
alert; he has the habit of listening, and talk interferes.

Another influence is for sanity. It cannot fail to communicate a little
of its imperturbable calm, that stable equilibrium of the granite ledge
and the great tree trunks. There being none of the external and
artificial excitations which constantly play on the mind in cities, a
tremendous force of complex suggestion is removed, and the thought
naturally works more simply and directly. The multiplicity of desires
lies dormant. Everything conspires for simplicity, as in the city all
things are in conspiracy against it.

A certain resourcefulness is the portion of the woodsman, a little of
the independence and dexterity of the Indian, but more than this, an
intellectual and spiritual resourcefulness. It devolves upon him in the
solitude to become acquainted with himself--to be his own friend. A
sturdy content grows out of this association with the forest. He does
not require to be amused. It does not necessarily promote an unsocial
state, but it does make him independent of much society. Thus the
forest has its finer or spiritual influence.

Even greater is the suggestion of primitive vigor. The display of vast
rude strength induces a robust state of mind quite as readily as the
open-air life gives appetite and sleep. With the savage this influence
is direct and may almost be classed as instinct. With the refined and
cultivated mind it must first pierce the outer shell, the veneer, and
filter into the subconscious depths, as the sunlight penetrates the
forest twilight and brings to life dormant seeds lying there. A new
class of ideas comes to life. The seeds of thought planted long ago in
the nomadic period of evolution--in the hunter stage--germinate under
the forest influence and send forth shoots. It is memory--the
race-memory--coming blindly to the surface, and amounts to a reversion,
not so great, however, but it may be wholesome. We speak of men being
_animal_ when they are sensual or dissipated, unmindful that animals
are neither, but eminently sane, rendering a complete and unconscious
obedience to the laws of Nature. Some men make the mistake of trying to
take the city to the wilderness, and, as a result, get neither one nor
the other. The forest has its luxuries, and they consist, in a measure,
of freedom from those things considered luxuries in the city.

Here in the Sierras we live in a wickiup, a sort of a roofless wigwam.
The camp overlooks the forest in which the cañons and ranges are as
folds and wrinkles. Neighbors are few, for animals conceal themselves,
while song-birds are not properly of the forest, but seek the clearing
and the settlement. An Oregon snowbird has her nest near by and comes
hopping about on her marketing expeditions. A pair of lazuli-finches
also live on the edge of the clearing, and the male is, perhaps, the
most beautiful bird in the forest. His demure little mate is seldom
seen, as she is preoccupied with her domestic cares, but he constantly
flits about in the chaparral, where he gleams in the sunlight like a
jewel.

One other neighbor we have, an Audubon hermit-thrush, which might be a
voice merely--like Echo haunting the mountain--and no bird at all. He
appears to sing in the twilight only, and his song, like that of all
thrushes, is spiritual and unworldly. A single white lily, tall and
branching, stands near the camp, and day after day opens its ghostly
racemes in the dusk to white moths which come flitting out of the
forest like winged Psyches; and with the opening of the spirit-like
flower comes the vesper song of the thrush.

Night in the forest is a spell, an enchantment. It descends suddenly
and envelopes us in darkness, tangible and real. The wickiup stands at
the edge of a little clearing, and, as we roll ourselves in our
blankets, we seem to float in inky blackness, while the pines are like
beetling cliffs against the starlit heavens. Darkness and light
confront each other; it is as if we hovered between them and had made
our camp for the night on the borderland. But with the dawn, that
luminous world has vanished and we are again under the familiar pines.

One is impressed most by the wonderful stillness of the night. Not only
is the world blotted out in the enveloping darkness, but it is
voiceless, and there prevails absolute silence. Rarely this is broken
by the yapping of coyotes, or a dry twig snaps sharply under the foot
of some animal.

Not until the wind rises does the forest recover its voice. During the
day there is always music; it is as constant as noise in the city.
Impalpable currents descend from the empyrean to caress only the tops
of the tallest pines, coming no nearer to earth than this, and while
all is silent below there arises a distant chant in the tree tops,
which have been touched by an invisible hand and made to respond to
moods of the sky. Full and resonant, yet with that muffled quality of
tone which makes it appear always to come from a distance, the rhythmic
force of this chant sways one like the vibrations of an orchestra.
Starting at some center, as if at a signal, these tremulous waves of
sound recede farther and farther into the forest and die away in a
sigh.

Here the tendency grows on one to wander in the early morning and again
in late afternoon, to become crepuscular, like the animals, and to stay
in camp in the middle of the day. Deer do not stir abroad in the heat,
nor do fish bite, nor birds sing. This love of dawn and twilight is
partly inspired by fear of man, but it is none the less natural. At
daybreak the deer go down the cañons to the salt-licks, as
surreptitiously as nymphs going to bathe. It is their witching hour, as
midnight is the owls'.

To arise at dawn should be an occasion; to make it usual would mean the
sacrifice of the more subtle impressions, the mind is so readily
blunted by the habitual.

Like a black mantle the great forest lies over the earth as I roll
myself in my blankets beside the fire. That little flaring light
appears to be the only one in this dark wilderness, reclaiming a minute
portion of space and making it habitable. Wherever one may be in the
forest, it is only necessary to gather a few dry sticks and strike a
match. The signal summons the genii, servant of the woodsman. More
properly one should use a flint, or rub two sticks together. He allies
himself with man against the hosts of darkness and defies the
wilderness; a merry fellow, his laugh may be heard in the crackling
flames. All through the night he entertains with his merry gossip and
with pictures he shows in the fire. At times he reveals his own glowing
face in the embers, but quickly assumes the head of a bear or a lynx,
or melts away in the flames, to reappear presently in another spot.

When I awake, the morning-star hangs low in the heavens like a great
lamp, its light an infinitely pure and serene radiance with no
suggestion of heat or combustion, made to appeal to some higher vision.
A heap of cold gray ashes is all that is left of the fire, in the
center a single glowing spot, which may have been the eye of the genii
of the night. The black mantle has been lifted, and the earth is
illumined by a faint glow, as if solely by the reflected rays of that
planet. Unspeakably soft is this light, the forerunner of the dawn, in
which the forest is bathed and from which one derives a peculiar
satisfaction.

Imperceptibly, almost, it fades, and is replaced by one of a different
quality--the light of day--which creeps over the world until at length
one is aware that that other, which was neither of the night nor of the
day, has gone. Long pale lines of fog and fleecy banks of clouds now
evolve upon the horizon. The earth remains suffused in this cold light,
which fascinates and still repels, making the ranges look distant and
severe, and giving to the whole face of Nature an unsympathetic look.
It is the beauty of marble, a Gorgon beauty, which chills the heart. In
that scene is no note of human passion. Those pale clouds, cold and
gray as the ashes of the fire, seem to lure to some beyond, as if they
would draw one from the world of life and warmth to some region of cold
and death.

Presently comes a faint blush in the sky and over the hills, a new
warmth of light, as if blood now ran in those marble veins. It is the
_foreglow_, which is to the sunrise what the afterglow is to the
sunset. Color is again born into the world, and the earth is once more
alive and sympathetic. As the sun rises, dawn, the exquisite dawn, the
most ethereal thing that mortal eyes shall ever behold, flees away into
the uttermost parts of space. The mystical, alluring quality slowly
dies, and it is once more the matter-of-fact light of day.

With the appearance of the sun these subtle impressions vanish, like a
dream vague and unreal. Nature reasserts herself in the robust sense of
existence; now the smell of frying bacon, the comforting effect of the
morning coffee in a tin cup, are the real and important things.
Physical life is enough in itself--so concentrated, vigorous,
aggressive it is. The mere breathing, seeing, tasting are more in
themselves than is possible under other conditions. How good the resiny
odor of the forest! How exhilarating the scene in its pure savagery!
How stimulating the morning air! How the stream lures as I get down the
trout-rod, and climbing out on a sugar-pine log cast a brown hackle on
the swirling glassy flood!



THE SEA


The sea ever baffles description. It is a living thing, pulsating with
energy, and, possessed of a subtle consciousness, elusive and full of
moods--changeable as woman and as incomprehensible. Now it is tender
and appealing; again distant and cold. Perhaps it is because of its
essentially feminine traits that it so beguiles. Certainly it
fascinates as nothing else fascinates in Nature.

There is what may be called a _sense_ of the sea, which is indefinable.
No lesser body of water, no other aspect of Nature affords this. It is
in the air, like a touch of autumn, and we know it as much through
feeling as through seeing. The coast is saturated for some distance
inland with this presence of the sea, much as the beach is soaked with
salt water. It is music and poetry to the soul and as elusive as they,
wrapping us in dreams and yielding fugitive glimpses of that which we
may never grasp, but which skirts, like a beautiful phantom, the mind's
horizon. Like music, it is an opiate, and unlocks for us new states of
mind in which we wander, as in halls of alabaster and mother-of-pearl,
but where, alas, we may not linger. We can as readily sound the ocean
as fathom the feelings it inspires. It is too deep for thought. As
often as the sea speaks to us of the birth of Venus and of Joy, so also
does it remind of Prometheus bound and the thrall of Nature.

Who can recall those impressions of the sea which were his as a
child--a relish, a vividness, perhaps never experienced in after life?
What wonderful thing was the pure white sand; what fascinating objects
the sea-shells--and the boom of the surf, what thrilling music! No
longer is it that simple strain, but inwrought with hopes and fears and
memories. The children on the beach play in an ocean of their own; we
cannot put foot on their shore, try as we will. Sometimes, as the salty
fragrance is wafted over the sands, one is on the point of regaining
that lost consciousness, and then it eludes and is gone. Never again
shall we find that alluring and altogether wonderful sea upon which we
happened in childhood. Yet who knows but in some auspicious moment we
may come upon one still more entrancing.

With an east wind the sea is always musical. It breaks forth in its
solemn chant, as though the wind were an influence that awakened
memories of the immeasurable past, and inspired this primitive song.
From a distance it comes like a rhythmical murmur upon the horizon, and
it is strange how this sound will fall upon unheeding ears, and then
with what suddenness one becomes aware of it. At times it loses its
rhythmical character and becomes a sort of recitative. One imagines the
venerable sea to be muttering of its epic past--to be relating that
wonderful saga.

Yesterday the sea was glass. It lay tranquil as if never again could
its surface be ruffled. So indefinite was the sky-line it was difficult
to tell which was sky and which water,--a dream-ocean, a charming
vision, which was to dissolve like a mirage of the desert.

This morning how it was changed! Up from the shore came a muffled and
ominous growl. As one approached, this ceased, and there was instead
the spitting and hissing of little waves--a sound of irritation and
suppressed anger. The sea was leaden, aggressive, formidable. It was as
if some troubled spirit had entered there--it was possessed of a
devil. This unrest is savage and terrible like that of a caged tiger.
The eye turns with relief to the imperturbable rock, which seems to
confine and restrain the angry waters. The granite rests in unalterable
calm, sphinxlike, on the edge of the watery desert. It stands for the
constant and enduring, as it forever confronts the inconstant and
changeful sea. They are two opposing forces: the sea coy, arch,
coquettish, now bewitching and full of her beautiful wiles, now
disdainful and imperious, again mad, tempestuous, hurling herself in
her wild passion; the granite grim, massive, unconquerable.

Late in the afternoon the wind is blowing from the north, the sky has
cleared and the sea is sapphire, dotted with whitecaps; yesterday,
opal, this morning leaden, and later, sapphire. It is no longer
formidable, rather is it cold and distant. The _face_ of the waters is
a peculiarly pertinent figure of speech, for the sea is as a face
reflecting all moods. In the glare of noonday, ocean and landscape seem
to discharge themselves of feeling,--that is to say, they are barren to
the eye and unproductive of feeling in us. But in the atmosphere of
sunset and twilight they are again expressive. The quality of light
may be compared to the _timbre_ of sound. Sometimes--as at noon--it is
like the blare of brass, and, again, it has the softness of wood-winds,
the tenderness of violins and cellos.

The receding day carries with it the disquieting influences, and night
exorcises the demons of unrest. They scurry away with the sunset clouds
on the horizon like fleeing witches. As if in obedience to some silent
command, the sea becomes passive. He must be distraught indeed who can
look at it now without coming under the spell of the hour--the serene
hour. It is as if the passion and strife of life had been succeeded by
the beautiful calm of death. To gaze on the mute and motionless ocean
at ebb-tide is to be inevitably inspired to reflection, so potent is
the suggestion of repose. Apparently the forces of Nature have
conspired together for peace.

Death? Nay, rather transfiguration, for now the sea is illumined by a
golden radiance. Stretches of burnished copper and molten gold merge
one into the other; areas again of liquid silver, and beyond, the vast
ethereal blue. Out of the coves shadows come creeping and stealing over
the water, silently advancing to overwhelm the rose and copper and
gold, while these recede and slip out to sea, growing fainter and
fainter until they are absorbed in the all-pervading dusk. In the
succeeding darkness one beholds, not the sea, but a vast bottomless
pit, Dantesque and terrible.

Above all else it is the immense vigor of the sea which appeals to us.
We are made to feel the play of cosmic forces. The long stretch of
rocky coast is rude and Titanic; the expanse of ocean suggests that
chaos from which the earth has gradually been redeemed. The waters
piling themselves up are as elemental and chaotic as nebulæ or the
seething envelopes of the sun. It is incredible they should be hitched
to the gentle moon, and should follow that pale phantom like a leashed
panther, now purring, now growling, but obedient always. The mountains
impress one with their age, the sea with its agelessness. Here at least
is something which appears superior to Time. It is no more youth than
it is age--the formless, without beginning and without end, but always
that superabundant vigor, power, freedom.

Denuded woodland and disfigured landscape bring to mind that iron
Necessity which it is not pleasant to see advertised. But the sea is
unimproved. It is the universal solvent, and dissolves the trivial, the
commonplace, the mean, and gives an heroic cast to whatever it touches.
One needs, however, to observe it from the shore and to have that
vantage which is derived from being on land. In mid-ocean it is too
entirely dominant--there is nothing to afford contrast. It is like the
moon--so fair at a distance, such desolation upon its surface. One can
be alone on the mountains and find them friendly, but who would choose
to be alone in mid-ocean? There is a sense of isolation, a
disassociation, as if one had, in fact, severed connection with earthly
affairs altogether; hour after hour and day after day the same
inscrutable desert of water, which begins everywhere and ends nowhere.

Yet how inviting it appears when the glittering sunbeams dance on a
gently rippling surface. It seems an expression of irrepressible gaiety
as if all the joyousness in Nature had come to the surface here. The
twinkling dance of the innocent waves--who can recall the tragedies
now?

[Illustration: THE SEA COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER]

The gulls appear to enjoy some favoritism, as though they were kin to
the sea--its very own. To them it is altogether friendly; they find
it always congenial. Whether the breeze blows north or south, it is
all the same. In the last gale it was next to impossible to keep one's
feet in the full force of the wind, but the gulls sustained themselves
with ease. Over the gray-green sea the clouds appeared to rest like a
cowl. The thunder of the waves drowned all else and shut one off from
the world; consciousness was swallowed up in the din and tumult. In
vast mountainous billows the swirling waters rushed for the shore and
dissolved in spray. I stood in the lee of the rocks, bracing myself
against the gale--a reed shaken by the wind--and saw flocks of coots
riding at ease in the maelstrom beyond. Always facing the wind, they
sank into the troughs and rose again, were lost to view as the crests
broke over them, and reappeared in the old position. Ships would have
dragged their anchors where these coots rode at ease, anchored by
heaven knows what power.

Where the surf broke with its terrible thunder, countless crabs,
urchins, starfish and whelk reposed in the rockweed and Irish moss.
Were they aware of the storm? Did the anemones shut their doors or open
them wider in view of a feast?

The marvelous pools in which they live have no resemblance to the
surface of the sea, but suggest the bottom of the deep--limpid, dark
and still. Each is a world by itself, inhabited by a strange order of
beings: dull nomads, which drift with the waves, or cling, they know
not how, to something, they know not what. If there is any event in
their life it is the rise of the tide. In all likelihood they do not
know our day and night, are not impressed by these phenomena; but the
flood is their day, the ebb their night. Small whelk stud the rich
background of sea-mosses like precious stones, some gamboge, some
orange, others white as marble or banded with black. There are colonies
of sertularia tinted a delicate mauve, solitary sea-urchins of
heliotrope, and starfish, some luminous pink, others deep rose-madder.
These hues are characteristic of sea life, as of lichens and mushrooms
and the lower orders in general; not crude colors, red and blue, but
delicate gradations. Now and again a single jellyfish, stranded by the
receding tide, a spectral diaphanous creature, hovers ghostlike in the
liquid atmosphere of his strange world. It is all of an antediluvian
and prehistoric character, associated with the beginning of
things--with an age of fishes rather than an age of man. The deathless
sea takes no note of the flight of time; it still brings forth only
brood upon brood of slimy, goggle-eyed things.

What a harvest, this of the sea! After a storm all craft put out. The
lobstermen in their dories take in the lobster-pots and replenish the
bait, while the dory rises and sinks on the long swells. Fleets of
mackerel boats and schooners bound for the Banks after cod and haddock
creep along the horizon-line. On the beach men rake up the Irish moss,
flung ashore in the storm, and spread it on old sails to bleach in the
sun. Others haul kelp for the fields, while women gather driftwood. So
great a resource is the ocean; so many gleaners there are.

The sea is humanized and redeemed somewhat by the presence of these
workers. It is agreeable to reflect that while it nourishes them, they
in turn do not mar it. Man communicates the character of his mind and
aims to the landscape; enriches it by his labor on the farm, and
disfigures it again in a thousand ways, till it is as barren and sordid
as his own thoughts. But upon the deep he makes no impression. It is
virgin ever. It overpowers him by its stern music--lifts him for a
time a little above the sordid and commonplace. The sailor ashore is
not the same man he is out there. He must needs have courage, for he
must meet the sea. Portuguese, Swedes, Finns--poor stuff for poems in
their sailor boarding-houses ashore. But hear how they face the winter
gales. Learn the actual experience which makes up that life. The sea
invests the poorest, meanest man with heroic qualities. That is his
stage; there he looms large. Oil-skins and sou'wester are but his
make-up.

I take home a piece of driftwood, for no ordinary fire, but to kindle
the imagination, for it is saturated with memories and carries with it
the enchantment of the sea. To light this is to set in motion a sort of
magic-play. True _driftwood_ has been seasoned by the waters and
mellowed by the years. Not any piece of a lobster-pot, or pleasure
yacht, or, for that matter, of any modern craft at all is driftwood. It
must have come from the timber of a vessel built in the olden time when
copper bolts were used, so that the wood is impregnated with copper
salts. That is merely the chemistry of it. The wood is saturated with
sunshine and moonlight as well, with the storms and calms of the
sea--its passions, its subtle moods; more than this, it absorbed of the
human life whose destiny was involved with the vessel--the tragedy, the
woe. It had two lives--a forest life and a sea life. By force of
tragedy alone it became driftwood. Winter and summer the sea sang its
brave songs over the boat and chanted her requiem at last as she lay on
the ledge. This fragment drifted ashore out of the wreck of a vessel,
out of the wreck of great hopes, out of the passion of the sea.

Driftwood, then, is to be lighted in a spirit of reverence. No ordinary
blaze, rather is it an altar fire to Poseidon, to whom were immolated
the victims; to Aphrodite born of the waves. Rather is it the funeral
pyre of a sea-bird, now to rise again from its ashes. It is not to warm
the hands, this magic sea-fire, which has borrowed the emerald and
sapphire and azure of the waters and reflects still the phosphorescent
gleam which lay in the wake of the vessel, but to kindle some feeling
and to nurture vague dreams. To set match to this pyre is to invoke the
spirit of the deep, to hear the crooning of some distant surf, the
hissing of the fretful spray; to conjure up again the wondrous opaline
sea.

Somewhere on this phantom ocean rides a phantom bark with all sails
set, which reflect, now a rose-pink, now the faintest imaginable golden
sheen, and disappear in the dusk. Perchance there flits over the mind a
haunting recollection of that lost sea of childhood--that sea of virgin
impressions--to vanish also into the dusk of oblivion.



INDEX


Abdomen, 86, 95, 105.

Acorns, 120, 142, 160, 161.

Acquired tendency, 97.

Adder's-tongue, 20, 61, 67.

Æolus, 64.

Afterglow, 194.

Age, 201.

Agelessness, 201.

Age of fishes, 204.

Air-sac, 18, 19, 77.

Alaska sable, 150.

Alders, 14, 20, 50, 120, 162, 164, 168.

Alpine woodsia, 67, 170.

Alps, 154.

Altar fire, 207.

Amanita, 115, 126.

Amazon, 25.

Aments, 14.

Andromeda, 168.

Anemones, 1, 13, 20, 21, 59, 61, 67, 203.

Animals, 136-138, 142, 146, 187, 189, 191, 192.

Antennæ, 52, 101, 103.

Anthers, 78.

Ant hill, 94, 108.

Ants, 4, 88, 91, 94-107, 109, 111, 112, 145.

Aphid, 100, 101, 112.

Aphrodite, 207.

Apis, 78.

Apple, wild, 148.

April, 142, 169.

Arachne, 78.

Arbutus, 20, 60, 121.

Arctic, 131.

Arctic Circle, 23.

Armies, 102, 107, 111.

Ash, 66, 124.

Aspen, 7, 123.

Aspens, 181, 182.

Asters, 71, 122.

August, 113, 114, 117, 134.

Autumn, 20, 45, 51, 72, 92, 118, 119, 122, 125, 134, 135, 144, 152,
157, 166, 196.

Audubon hermit-thrush, 190.

Avalanches, 182.


Balsam, 3, 6, 57, 66, 68.

Bamboos, 117.

Banks, the, 205.

Barberry, 3, 58, 124.

Bare branches, 126.

Bark, 157, 158.

Barn-swallows, 26.

Basalt, 59.

Battle, 102.

Battlefield, 103.

Bayberry, 3, 118, 127.

Beach, 76, 132, 183, 196, 197, 205.

Bear, 193.

Beech, 126, 156, 157, 186.

Beechnuts, 145, 160.

Bees, 30, 31, 51, 55-57, 60, 67, 78-80, 82, 83, 89, 182.

Beetles, 34, 35, 150.

Bee-tree, 67.

Beggar-ticks, 121.

Bellworts, 21, 62.

Bent grass, 57.

Berkshires, 185.

Berries, 113, 114, 126, 161.

Bighorn, 178.

Big tree, 186.

Billows, 203.

Bindweed, 69.

Birch, 12, 32, 33, 57, 90, 117, 120, 123, 157, 158, 186.

Black alders, 168.

Black-and-white creepers, 39, 40.

Black ant, 91, 96, 102, 104-110.

Blackberries, 2, 63, 75, 118, 123, 148.

Black birch, 117, 158.

Blackcap raspberries, 146.

Black cherry, 158.

Black colonies, 4.

Black-headed grosbeak, 182.

Black oak, 157.

Blacksnakes, 155.

Black-throated blue warbler, 66.

Black-throated green warblers, 40.

Bloodroot, 20, 21, 60.

Blueberry, 11, 12, 64, 113, 159.

Bluebird, 1, 13, 14, 34, 41, 114, 117.

Blue-headed vireo, 8.

Bluets, 20, 57.

Blue violets, 20.

Boat, 207.

Bobolink, 24, 43.

Bob-white, 24, 42, 70, 160-162.

Bog, 56, 57, 122, 165, 168.

Bog-rush, 57.

Bokhara, 126.

Boleti, 116.

Bombus, 78.

Boulders, 6, 57, 91, 94, 122, 127-135, 140, 181.

Bouncing-bet, 56.

Brakes, 122.

Brazil, 24.

Briers, 147, 148.

Brook, 61, 138, 168-171.

Broom-moss, 117.

Brown ants, 109, 111, 112.

Brown hackle, 195.

Brush, 90.

Bryum, 117.

Buckwheat, 145.

Bulldogs, 102.

Bullfrogs, 114.

Bumblebee, 67, 78, 80.

Bunchberry, 67.

Bunchberries, 113.

Burdock, 59, 63, 73.

Bur-reeds, 152.

Burrow, 16, 155.

Burs, 121.

Buttercup, 57.

Buttercup seed, 145.

Butterflies, 55, 93.

Butterfly-weed, 72.

Butternut, 3, 66, 121.

Buttes, 183.

Button-bushes, 164, 165.

Byroads, 71, 73.


Caches, 125.

Calms, 207.

Camp, 189-192.

Canada, 66, 130.

Canada thistle, 75.

Canada violet, 62.

Cañons, 180-182, 185, 189, 192.

Cañon-wren, 180, 182.

Capsules, 119.

Captivity, 112.

Cardinal, 47.

Carolina wren, 47.

Carpenter-bees, 30.

Carrot, 63, 66, 74.

Cascade, 185.

Cassandra, 168.

Cat, 27.

Catbird, 30, 44-46, 49.

Catbrier, 118, 148.

Caterpillars, 92, 93.

Catkins, 13.

Cattails, 38, 150, 152.

Cedar, 34.

Cedars, 186.

Cells, 82, 83.

Cetraria, 159.

Ceylon, 117.

Chalcid fly, 82, 83, 92.

Chant, 46, 47, 169, 191, 198.

Chaos, 201.

Chaparral, 190.

Checkerberry, 80.

Cherry, 2, 3, 64, 66, 113, 158.

Chestnut-bur, 121.

Chestnuts, 121, 145.

Chestnut warbler, 26, 39.

Chewink, 41.

Chickadee, 41, 47, 158, 159, 166.

Chickory, 74.

Chipmunk, 15, 136, 139, 140, 144, 145, 155.

Chipping-sparrow, 37, 38, 118.

Chirping, 53.

Christmas fern, 158.

Christmas green, 158.

Cicada, 50, 53.

Cinnamon fern, 122.

Cinquefoil, 57.

Cirque, 181.

City, 189.

Cladonia, 126, 159.

Claw, 86.

Clearing, 190.

Clethra, 80, 148, 168.

Cliff, 66, 67, 132, 169, 174, 179-183.

Cliff-brake, 170.

Clintonia, 1, 57, 113, 114.

Cloud, 173, 174, 180, 183, 194, 200.

Clover, 57, 71.

Club-mosses, 158.

Coast Range, 186.

Cocoa-bean, 72.

Cocoons, 93, 95, 96.

Cod, 205.

Colony, 94, 95, 97, 99, 102, 107-111.

Columbines, 21, 66, 67, 121.

Column, 104-106, 110, 111.

Combat, 103.

Companionship, 10, 173.

Competition, 69.

Cones, 125, 158, 162, 163, 186.

Conifers, 158, 185, 186.

Coniferous, 141.

Connecticut Valley, 21.

Constellations, 130.

Coon, 149.

Coots, 124, 203.

Copper salts, 206.

Co-operation, 98.

Corridors, 95.

Cotton-fields, 47.

Cottontail, 126.

Court of the Winds, 163.

Coves, 200.

Cow-bell, 177.

Cowbird, 36-38.

Coyotes, 191.

Crabs, 203.

Cranberry-bog, 57.

Crane's-bill, 65.

Creek, 169.

Creepers, 39, 159.

Crest, 203.

Crickets, 51, 52, 54, 72.

Crop, 128.

Crossbills, 24, 162, 163.

Crow, 16, 17.

Crystals, 133.

Cuckoo, 31.

Curlew, 23.

Cyperus, 114.


Daghestan, 126.

Daisies, 59, 66.

Dandelions, 70, 71, 131, 135.

Dawn, 45, 47, 191-194.

Daybreak, 192.

Death-song, 55.

Deep, 204, 205, 207.

Deer, 138, 156, 192.

Dell, 80.

Desert, 131, 183, 198, 199.

Deserters, 107.

Devonian, 5.

Dexterity, 188.

Dicentra, 20, 59, 170.

Dicksonia, 59, 122.

Dodder, 69.

Dog, 136.

Dog-days, 87, 114, 122.

Dogwood, 30, 58, 157.

Dory, 205.

Douglas spruce, 185.

Doves, 7.

Downy woodpecker, 159.

Downy yellow violets, 21.

Driftwood, 205-207.

Dromedary, 132.

Drumming, 16.

Dwarf-sumac, 80, 124.


Earthquake, 182.

Earth-spirit, 130.

East wind, 198.

Ebb-tide, 200, 204.

Echo, 190.

Edible, 115.

Eggs, 81, 82, 84, 85, 91, 93, 99, 105, 110, 112, 121, 132, 160.

Egypt, 131.

Elder, 63.

Elm, 20, 30, 163, 186.

Elysian fields, 71.

English pheasant, 42.

Epithalamium, 54.

Erigone, 88.

Erythronium, 1, 20.

Europe, 70.

Eurydice, 179.

Evolution, 97.

Exodus, 101, 109, 110.


_Face_ of the waters, 199.

Fall, 151.

Fall dandelions, 71.

False hellebore, 68.

Farm, 128.

Faulting, 179.

Faun, 49, 126, 159.

February, 140.

Feeding-grounds, 152.

Feldspar, 134.

Fern, 57, 131, 158.

Fern moss, 68, 117.

Fields, 22, 42, 43, 48, 57, 59, 71, 72, 74, 76, 79, 115, 127-129, 205.

Field-sparrow, 1, 43, 118.

Filaments, 78.

Finch, 18, 190.

Fir, 185, 186.

Fire, 192-194.

Fireweed, 75.

Fish, 77, 192.

Fisherman, 171.

Flight, 88, 98-100, 120.

Flood, 204.

Florida, 25.

Fly, 78, 86.

Flycatcher, 37, 119.

Fog, 173, 183, 184, 194.

Forest, 34, 42, 44, 56, 62, 65, 78, 82, 100, 117, 136, 163, 178, 181,
185, 187-193, 195.

Forest cathedrals, 186.

Food plant, 112.

Foreglow, 194.

_Formica pennsylvanica_, 102.

Formicary, 97, 99.

Fox, 148, 149, 156.

Fox-sparrows, 16.

Freedom, 112, 177, 201.

Frogs, 18, 19, 51, 114, 144, 155.

Fossils, 131.

Fronds, 159.

Frost, 129, 135, 181.

Frost-grapes, 2, 113.

Fruit, 65, 72, 76.

Fungus, 114, 147.

Funeral pyre, 207.


Gale, 203.

Galleries, 95, 96.

Garden, 56, 58, 59, 65, 67, 69, 70, 169, 170.

Garden escapes, 56.

Gentians, 114.

Glacial times, 130.

Glacier, 129, 131, 133, 135, 181, 182.

Gleaners, 205.

Glen, 138-140, 143, 150, 151, 169, 170.

Gneiss, 169.

Goldenrod, 71, 78, 80, 122.

Goldfinch, 162.

Gold thread, 26, 63.

Gorge, 80, 178, 180.

Granite, 6, 59, 60, 130, 132, 134, 135, 159, 175, 180, 187, 199.

Granite domes, 185.

Grape, 52, 126.

Grass, 57, 64, 65, 70, 71, 76, 87, 108, 131, 139.

Grasshoppers, 54, 145, 155.

Grass roots, 152.

Grass seed, 145.

Gray squirrels, 120, 139, 140-142.

Greece, 186.

Greenland, 129, 185.

Green-tailed towhee, 182.

Grosbeak, 47, 182.

Groundnut, 21, 169.

Ground-pine, 158.

Grouse, 24, 156.

Grove, 17.

Grubs, 92, 121.

Gulls, 202, 203.


Hackle, 195.

Haddock, 205.

Hair-cap moss, 12, 57, 117, 119.

Hardwoods, 30.

Hawk, 34, 42, 161.

Hawkweed, 28.

Hay-scented fern, 131.

Hegira, 89.

Hemlocks, 56, 81, 126, 140.

Hepatica, 20, 60, 129.

Hermit-thrush, 8, 16, 43, 44, 190.

Hickory, 7, 121, 123, 124, 128.

Highhole, 15, 16.

Highroads, 73.

Highways, 56, 100.

Hillocks, 59.

Hills, 94, 109, 167, 173, 177, 180, 194.

Himalaya, 117.

Hive, 80.

Home-trees, 30.

Honey bees, 67, 79, 80.

Hop-hornbeam, 119, 157.

Horse, 131, 177.

Horsetails, 12.

Host, 93.

Houseleek, 77.

House-sparrow, 31.

House-wren, 30.

Hound, 143.

Huber, 112.

Huckleberries, 26, 99, 123, 145.

Humming-bird, 28, 29, 67.

Humus, 125.

Hunter stage, 189.

Hunters, 102.

Hunting expedition, 110.

Hunting-ground, 111.

Huts, muskrat, 150-152.

Hyla, 18-20, 51.


Ice, 129, 130, 151, 152, 155, 162, 167, 168, 181.

Ichneumons, 93.

Icicles, 135, 167.

Immigrants, 70.

Independence, 188.

Indian, 187, 188.

Indian paint-brush, 181.

Indian-pipe, 80, 81.

Indian summer, 88, 126.

Instinct, 188.

Invasion, 104.

Irish moss, 203, 205.

Iron weed, 73.


Jack-in-the-pulpit, 62.

Java, 117.

Jaws, 86, 91, 103, 142.

Jay, 45, 120, 160, 161.

Jellyfish, 204.

Jimson-weed, 73.

Joepye-weed, 73, 122.

Juncos, 162.

June, 161.

Jungle, 117, 130, 131, 168.

Juniper, 127.


Kelp, 205.

Kidnapping, 107.

Kingfisher, 32.

Kinglet, 1, 5, 48, 49, 159, 170.


Laborers, 108.

Lady's-slipper, 1.

Lake, 75, 181.

Lake basins, 181.

Lance-leaved violets, 21.

Larvæ, 82, 83, 105, 106, 110, 121.

Laurel, 59.

Lava, 59.

Lava-flow, 182.

Lazuli-finch, 190.

Leaf bud, 160.

Least flycatcher, 37.

Ledge, 5, 6, 31, 33, 80, 129, 132, 134, 159, 164, 178, 181, 187, 207.

Leopard-frog, 19.

Lichens, 6, 26, 57, 117, 127, 133, 134, 159, 204.

Lily, 61, 190.

Lily-pads, 114, 166, 168.

Limestone, 59.

Lobstermen, 205.

Lobster-pots, 205, 206.

Locusts, 51, 52.

Long-spurred violets, 20.

Loon, 48.

Love-song, 18, 44, 45, 50.

Lubbock, 112.

Lumbermen, 163.

Luster, 158.

Lynx, 193.


Mackerel boats, 205.

Magnolia warbler, 66.

Mallow, 122.

Mandrake, 1.

Mango, 72.

Maple, 19, 20, 26, 45, 59, 66, 101, 117, 120, 124-126, 134, 135, 157,
186.

Maple-leaved viburnum, 124.

Marble, 134.

Marriage flight, 98.

Marshes, 122.

Marsh-marigold, 20.

Martin, 22.

Maryland yellow-throat, 37.

Massachusetts, 21.

Mastodon, 121.

Meadow-ants, 102.

Meadow-lark, 1.

Meadow-mouse, 150.

Meadows, 43, 56, 67, 168, 182.

Meadow sweet, 80.

Medeola, 62.

Mertensia, 183.

_Mesa_, 177.

Mica, 134.

Mice, 139.

Milking, 101.

Milkweeds, 72.

Mink, 139, 140, 142, 149, 151.

Minstrelsy, 48.

Mint, 1.

Mirage, 198.

Mist, 75, 76, 170, 180, 183.

Mitchella, 126.

Miterworts, 21, 32.

Mitla, 179.

Mixed flocks, 8.

Mniums, 117.

Mocking-bird, 49.

Mole, 150.

Mollusks, 23.

Monkey, 121.

Moon, 129, 201, 202.

Moosewood, 157.

Moraine, 59, 130, 181.

Morning-star, 193.

Mosses, 12, 57, 68, 82, 116, 117, 134.

Mother ants, 98.

Moths, 93, 190.

Mountain-ash, 66.

Mountain-goat, 100.

Mountain-holly, 113.

Mountain-maple, 66.

Mountains, 56-58, 65, 66, 68, 119, 164, 173-177, 179, 181, 183, 184,
190, 201, 202.

Mountain stream, 169, 177, 178.

Mountain thoughts, 178.

Mouse, 35, 119.

Mud-dauber, 84.

Mullein, 63, 74.

Mushrooms, 114-116, 204.

Muskrats, 150-152.

Myrtle warbler, 66.


Natural history, 97.

Nebulæ, 201.

Negroes, 104, 105, 107, 111.

Nest, 26-29, 31-34, 36-38, 41, 45, 66, 84, 95, 96, 102, 104-111, 190.

New England, 6, 11, 127, 130, 169.

New Jersey, 21.

New York, 130.

Night, 190, 200.

Non-conformity, 179.

North, 127.

November, 152.

Nuthatch, 40, 159.

Nuts, 142.

Nymph, 126, 157, 159, 192.


Oaks, 5, 7, 8, 58, 89, 120, 126, 154, 157, 159, 186.

Ocean, 183, 197, 199-201, 205, 207.

October, 114, 123, 166.

Oil-skins, 206.

Olympus, 176.

Opal, 199.

Open, the, 153, 166.

Orache, 77.

Orchards, 30, 34, 71.

Orchis, 168.

Oregon snowbird, 190.

Orinoco, 25.

Oriole, 5, 25, 30, 117.

Ornithologist, 118.

Orphean strain, 119.

Orpheus, 178.

Osmunda, 13, 123, 124.

Outlaws, 148.

Ouzel, 178.

Owl, 27, 31, 34, 35, 148, 192.


Paint-brush, 181.

Painted trillium, 62.

Paleozoic reptiles, 131.

Panther, 201.

Pappus, 38, 75.

Papyrus, 180.

Parasite, 157.

Parmelia, 57, 133, 159.

Parnassus, 119.

Partridgeberries, 160.

Parula warbler, 8.

Pastoral stage, 102.

Pasture, 15, 22, 25, 56-58, 64, 72-74, 76, 88, 113, 127, 128, 135, 155.

Pasture mushroom, 115.

Pasture stones, 57, 94, 118, 127, 128, 131, 132, 134.

Patagonia, 23.

Peak, 174, 185.

Peat-moss, 117.

Pebbles, 132.

Pedata violets, 60.

Persia, 154.

Personality, 43.

Petal, 130, 167.

Pewees, 26, 46, 50, 118, 119.

Pheasant, 42.

Phoebe, 18, 31, 56, 119.

Pickerel-frogs, 114.

Pickerel-weed, 74.

Pignut, 142.

Pigweed, 69.

Pileus, 114.

Pine, 5, 7, 9, 17, 28, 30, 40, 65, 78, 123, 125, 142, 154, 158,
162-164, 166, 168, 181, 183, 185-187, 191.

Pine-needles, 7, 126, 147, 153.

Pine-siskins, 162.

Pine-warbler, 40.

Pinnæ, 159.

Pipes of Pan, 48.

Piping, 18.

Pipsissewa, 80.

Pistillate, 79.

Pitcher-plant, 13.

Pitch-pine, 28, 166.

Planets, 132.

Plantain, 64.

Plant-fiber, 26.

Planting, 65.

Plant life, 69.

Plover, 22, 24.

Pod, 72, 73, 75.

Poison-ivy, 123, 124.

Poison sumac, 68.

Pokeweed, 72.

Pollen, 14, 65, 71, 79, 81, 119.

Pollen-basket, 79.

Pollen-bearing, 64.

Pollen-grains, 79.

Polyporus, 57.

Polypody, 159.

Pond, 19, 74, 124, 148, 150-152, 162, 164-167.

Pool, 165, 167, 170, 171, 179, 203.

Poplar, 20.

Porphyry, 180.

Porters, 108.

Poseidon, 207.

Poverty-grass, 76.

Prairie, 65.

Precipice, 169, 180, 182.

Protective coloration, 146, 187.

Puffballs, 116, 128.

Pumpkins, 79.

Pupa, 82, 83, 95, 96, 104-106, 108-111.

Pupa-cases, 95.

Purple finch, 18.

Purslane, 69.

Pussy-willows, 13.


Queen bumblebee, 80, 81.

Queen mother, 82.

Queens, 98, 99, 105, 108.

Quartz, 134.


Rabbit, 136, 139, 145-149.

Racemes, 190.

Ragweed, 69, 70, 155, 161.

Raid, 104, 106-109.

Rainbow, 182.

Rain, 130.

Range, 173, 177, 189, 194.

Rapids, 171, 178, 179.

Raspberries, 146.

Ravine, 66, 123, 169, 170, 177, 178.

Red ants, 4, 102, 104-110, 112.

Red cherry, 66.

Red clover, 71.

Redeye, 37, 50, 62, 118, 119.

Red maple, 20, 126.

Red owl, 34.

Redpolls, 24, 162.

Red-shouldered hawk, 161.

Red squirrel, 125, 139-141.

Redtop, 64.

Redwing, 15, 31.

Redwood, 186.

Reindeer lichens, 57.

Reptiles, 132.

Requiem, 54, 207.

Resourcefulness, 188.

Reverie, 72, 182.

Ribbon-snake, 157.

Ripple marks, 5.

Roads, 76.

Robin, 4, 15, 34, 44-46, 143.

Rock-brake, 67.

Rockies, 176, 182, 183.

Rock-maple, 59.

Rocks, 179, 180, 183, 199, 203.

Rockweed, 77, 203.

Rome, 131.

Rose, 31, 59, 63, 64, 72, 118, 130, 131, 148.

Rose-breasted grosbeak, 47.

Rose-mallow, 122.

Rose pogonia, 168.

Round-leaved spurge, 76.

Ruby kinglet, 48, 170.

Rue-anemone, 20.

Ruffed grouse, 24, 156.

Runways, 148.

Rush, 57.

Russula, 116.


Saga, 198.

Sailor, 206.

Salt-licks, 192.

Sand, 197.

Sandpiper, 124.

Sandstone, 59, 179, 180, 182.

Sand-wasp, 89.

Sanity, 187.

Saplings, 154, 185.

Sapphire, 199.

Sapsucker, 33.

Sassafras, 3.

Satyr, 49, 159.

Savage, 188.

Savin, 113, 127.

Saxifrage, 20, 170.

Scapes, 71.

Scarlet oak, 126.

Schist, 169.

Schooners, 205.

Scorpions, 95.

Sculpins, 77.

Sea, 77, 132, 133, 164, 165, 168, 175, 179, 182, 183, 187, 196-208.

Sea-bird, 207.

Sea-fire, 207.

Sea life, 204.

Sea-mosses, 204.

Sea-shells, 77, 197.

Sea-urchins, 203, 204.

Sedge, 150, 152.

Sedge roots, 152.

Sediment, 179.

Seed, 64, 65, 70, 75, 119, 120, 125, 135, 145, 161-163.

Seed-carrying, 64.

Seedlings, 121.

Self-effacement, 187.

_Sense_ of the sea, 196.

Sensitive fern, 57.

September, 118, 122.

Sequoia, 185-187.

Serpent, 106.

Sertularia, 204.

Shadbush, 64, 123, 124.

Shale, 5.

Shelf fungus, 114, 146.

Shellbark, 157.

Shield-fern, 159.

Shinleaf, 80.

Shooting-star, 183.

Shore, 198, 202, 203.

Shrews, 139.

Shrilling, 19, 53.

Sierra Nevada, 185, 189.

Silence, 187, 191.

Silver fir, 185, 186.

Silver-rod, 113.

Simplicity, 188.

Sky, 165, 171, 191, 194, 198, 199.

Skunk, 149, 155.

Skunk-cabbage, 11, 122.

Slave-making ant, 112.

Slavery, 106.

Slaves, 104, 108-112.

Smilax, 12, 30, 113, 117.

Snakes, 143, 155.

Snipe, 22.

Snow, 70, 140, 141, 147, 152-156, 160, 161, 166, 181.

Snowbird, 27, 66, 190.

Snow-buntings, 22, 24.

Snowflakes, 8, 22, 133, 153, 165.

Snow-storm, 153.

Socialism, 96.

Social wasp, 86, 89.

Solitary wasps, 89.

Solitude, 177, 188.

Solomon's-seal, 62.

Song, 18-20, 31, 32, 41-43, 45-51, 53, 55, 67, 119, 138, 161, 163,
168-170, 178, 190, 198.

Song-birds, 189.

Song-sparrows, 17, 31, 45, 50.

Sorrel, 57.

Sou'wester, 206.

Spagnum, 68, 122, 168.

Sparrows, 16, 17, 31, 37, 38, 42, 43, 45, 46, 50, 70, 118, 155, 162.

Spatter-docks, 152.

Speedwells, 57.

Spicebush, 58, 170.

Spider, 29, 51, 65, 78, 83-89, 117.

Spider's egg, 160.

Spider-web, 64, 84.

Spinnerets, 85, 88, 89.

Spinning, 84, 88, 93.

Spores, 119.

Spray, 203, 207.

Spring, 11-14, 17, 21, 24, 45, 50, 51, 68, 112, 114, 119, 144, 157, 170.

Spring beauty, 1, 20, 61, 169.

Spruce, 6, 32, 57, 66, 67, 181, 182, 185, 186.

Spur, 174.

Spurge, 76.

Spurred violets, 169.

Squirrels, 42, 120, 121, 125, 139-142, 156, 187.

Stag-horn sumac, 123.

Stamens, 78.

Starfish, 203, 204.

Star of Bethlehem, 56.

Stars, 128.

Stinging ants, 95.

St.-John's-wort, 63, 114, 149.

Storm, 205, 206.

Strand, 85, 89.

Strata, 179.

Strawberries, 57.

Stream, 48-50, 67, 169, 170, 177, 178, 180-182, 187, 195.

Stridulating, 54.

Stumps, 114.

Sugar-maple, 124.

Sugar-pine, 185-187, 195.

Sumac, 3, 15, 68, 80, 82, 83, 88, 123, 124.

Summer, 60, 66, 67, 70, 71, 126, 152, 154, 168, 181, 207.

Sunflowers, 59, 122.

Sunrise, 194.

Sunset, 194, 199.

Surf, 7, 203, 207.

Swallows, 19, 25, 26.

Swamp milkweed, 72.

Swamps, 13, 15, 18-20, 31, 40, 45, 47, 68, 73, 113, 114, 123, 125,
126, 134, 168.

Swan-song, 163.

Swarming, 98.

Sweetbrier, 1.

Sweet fern, 127.

Swift, 22, 30.

Sylvan, 49.


Tabriz, 126.

Tansy, 74.

Temperament, 43.

Temperate zone, 131.

Tendency, 97.

Tertiary animals, 131.

Thaw, 135, 151, 168.

Thicket, 16, 75, 118, 122.

Thistle-down, 30, 64.

Thistles, 59, 64, 74, 75, 135.

Thorax, 86, 95, 102, 105.

Thoreau, 177.

Thrasher, 49.

Thread, 84, 87, 88.

Thrushes, 8, 9, 16, 30, 42-46, 48, 51, 62, 190.

Thunder-storm, 182.

Tide, 204.

Tiger, 199.

Timber, 181.

_Timbre_, 200.

Timothy, 64.

Toads, 19, 50, 132, 155.

Towhee, 182.

Track, 148, 156, 161, 162.

Trail, 177, 178, 183.

Trail-horse, 177.

Transmutations, 60.

Tree ferns, 117.

Tree-sparrows, 70, 155, 162.

Tree-swallows, 19, 25.

Tree-toads, 50, 52.

Trillium, 62.

Trough, 203.

Trout, 172.

Trout-rod, 195.

Trunk, 141, 158, 185, 186, 188.

Tufted titmouse, 47.

Tulip trees, 58.

Tupelo, 113, 124, 125, 134.

Twilight, 192, 199.

Twisted-stalk, 62.

Twittering, 19.


Undergrowth, 59.

Upholsterer-bee, 82.

Urchins, 203, 204.


Veery, 44.

Vespa, 78.

Vessel, 206, 207.

Vesuvius, 58.

Viburnum, 113, 124.

Violets, 13, 20, 21, 26, 57, 59, 60, 62, 129, 169.

Vireos, 5, 8, 31, 36, 37, 93.

Virginia creeper, 3, 71, 92, 123.

Viscid drops, 86.

Volcano, 58.


Wake-robins, 67.

Warblers, 5, 8, 21, 25-27, 31, 37, 39, 40, 66, 93, 118.

Warriors, 102, 103, 108, 111.

Wasps, 55, 78, 84-86, 89-91, 93.

Waterfall, 67, 170.

Water-thrush, 48.

Waves, 76, 184, 198, 202-204, 207.

Weasels, 27, 102, 136, 143, 149.

Web, 64, 84, 85, 87.

Weeds, 69, 70, 72-74, 76, 77.

Weevil, 121.

Whelk, 203, 204.

White birch, 57, 90, 157, 186.

Whitecaps, 199.

White-fringed orchis, 168.

White oak, 8, 120, 157, 186.

White pines, 7, 125.

White violets, 21, 26.

Wickiup, 189, 190.

Wigwam, 189.

Wild animals, 136.

Wild apple, 148.

Wild gardens, 56, 58, 65, 182.

Wild geese, 23.

Wilderness, 34, 43, 48, 100, 142, 169, 189, 193.

Wild, the, 137, 147, 179.

Willows, 13, 20, 34, 64, 78, 148, 170.

Winds, 49, 63-65, 71, 78, 84, 87, 89, 110, 117, 119, 125, 135, 153,
156, 165, 166, 168, 171, 181, 191, 198, 199, 203.

Wings, 88, 89, 98, 99, 105, 112, 120, 125, 163.

Winter, 11, 13, 14, 17, 22, 50, 66, 70, 82, 88, 112, 118, 122, 142,
144, 145, 154, 162, 166, 207.

Winterberries, 168.

Winter buds, 11.

Winter gales, 157, 206.

Wintergreen, 3.

Winter music, 163.

Winter visitants, 8.

Winter walk, 156, 159.

Winter woods, 157, 161.

Winter wren, 49, 66, 119.

Wireworm, 89.

Witch-hazel, 58, 125, 145.

Witch-grass, 64.

Wolf, 136.

Wood-anemones, 13, 20, 21, 67.

Wood-betony, 21.

Woodchuck, 15, 136, 143-145, 155, 166.

Woodcraft, 136, 149.

Woodland, 201.

Woodland birds, 62.

Woodland flowers, 61, 62, 67, 80.

Wood life, 187.

Wood-lilies, 113.

Woodpecker, 34, 160.

Wood-pewee, 118.

Woods, 32, 38, 41-43, 47, 48, 52, 56, 61, 62, 67, 80, 104, 115,
122-124, 129, 136-138, 140-142, 147, 149, 153, 154, 157, 163, 165,
166, 185, 186.

Woodsia, 67, 170.

Woodsman, 187, 188, 193.

Wood-sorrel, 63.

Woodthrush, 30, 42, 46.

Wordsworth, 173.

Workers, 80, 81, 95, 99, 105, 108.

Worm, 4, 15, 89-91.

Wounded, 111.

Wreck, 207.

Wrens, 30, 31, 47, 49, 56, 66, 119, 181.


Yapping, 191.

Yellow ants, 94, 112.

Yellow birch, 32, 158.

Yellow pine, 6.

Yellowpoll, 119.

Yellow-throated vireo, 36.

Yellow violets, 21.

Yellow warbler, 31, 37.



Transcriber's Notes

Page 27: Changed "mail" to "male".
  (Orig: the mail seems to take it upon himself)





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