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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    smoke-like maples

    Just above Sherman's Bridge, between these towns, is the largest expanse, and when the wind blows freshly in a raw March day, heaving up the surface into dark and sober billows or regular swells, skirted as it is in the distance with alder swamps and smoke-like maples, it looks like a smaller Lake Huron, and is very pleasant and exciting for a landsman to row or sail over. (from "A week..." by H.D. Thoreau)

    Why did the author call the maples "smoke-like"? I thought first that it was because of the colour, but then doubted this explanation (just can't imagine maples resembling smoke). My second possible explanation was that it was the name of some species of maple, and I googled and found some unexpected topics on wood smoking and maple smoking
    . Now I'm at my wit's end and have no idea what it can mean. Could you help me solve this?

  2. VIP Member
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    #2

    Re: smoke-like maples

    The dense growth of the maples resembled smoke when seen from a distance. This being March, they hadn't leafed out yet.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. VIP Member
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    #3

    Re: smoke-like maples

    I agree with post #2 above. Notice how Thoreau previously uses the words the wind blows and billows to create a kind of airy, almost ethereal quality to the passage. I think the image of the maples resembling smoke fits very well with this.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: smoke-like maples

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    The dense growth of the maples resembled smoke when seen from a distance. This being March, they hadn't leafed out yet.
    Ah, I didn't think of that. It explains the matter. Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I agree with post #2 above. Notice how Thoreau previously uses the words the wind blows and billows to create a kind of airy, almost ethereal quality to the passage. I think the image of the maples resembling smoke fits very well with this.
    And your picturesque explanation I greatly appreciate. Very, very helpful. Thank you.

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