Field Notes, was suggested by an entry in Thoreau’s journal from March 21, 1853: “Might not my journal be called ‘Field Notes?'” The form of the piece was suggested by a passage from September 20, 1851:
As I go through the fields, endeavoring to recover my tone and sanity and to perceive things truly and simply again, after having been perambulating the bounds of the town all week, dealing with the most commonplace and worldly-minded men, and emphatically trivial things, I feel as if I had committed suicide in a sense.
The manuscript is a legal document covering the inheritance of a complicated estate by several persons. In making the collages I thought of myself as canceling out such ‘worldly-minded’ things with the beauty of the natural world. The dates are in the 1830s and 1840s, and the language is in German. The text refers to places that are in present-day Poland.