Page:Summer - from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau.djvu/374

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364
SUMMER.

I perceive that the low stratum of dark clouds under the red sky all dips one way, and to a remarkable degree presents the appearance of the butt ends of cannons slanted towards the sky. Such uniformity on a large scale is unexpected, and pleasant to detect, evincing the simplicity of the laws of their formation. Uniformity in the shapes of clouds of a single stratum is always to be detected, the same wind shaping clouds of the same consistency and in like positions. No doubt an experienced observer could discover the states of the upper atmosphere by studying the forms and characters of the clouds. I traced the distinct form of the cannon in seven instances, stretching over the whole length of the cloud many a mile in the horizon.

July 10, 1852. Another day, if possible, still hotter than the last. We have already had three or four such, and still no rain. The soil under the sward in the yard is dusty as an ash-heap for a foot in depth, and the young trees are suffering and dying.

2 p. m. To the North River, in front of Major Bassett's. It is with a suffocating sensation, and a slight pain in the head, that I walk the Union Turnpike where the heat is reflected from the road. The leaves of the elms on the dry highways begin to roll up. I have to lift my hat to let the air cool my head. But I find a re-