I have been thinking of Robert Frost these last few days. My daughter, she of the English Literature Program, bought a book of his poetry the other day and read a few to me on the way home from the bookstore.
We don't think enough about poetry, do we?
I used to be obsessed with it in high school and university, and then life took over and poetry was replaced by work, housecleaning and the more prosaic novel reading.
But a fine poem can tell as much, if not more, than a whole novel. Like the tight ball of the peony - so constricted, so small - a good poem opens itself up to reveal a multitude of feathery soft layers of meaning, there for the taking.
So yesterday, Mother's Day, I was out in the yard, doing my best to complete the spring time yard work which is typically completed well in advance of May 11th.
But we have a large yard and we had much snow, the last bit of which only melted over night last night. There is still snow in our woods, but there is no snow in the garden and for that, I am grateful.
Mother's Day saw me don my gardening getup: Coldplay T, fuchsia chinos, a ball cap and gardening gloves. Real gardeners do not dress like those in magazines, I think; they dress like they could at any moment be begging on some faraway street.
While working away, the weather changed suddenly from cool to hot, as it is wont to do around here: 4 celcius to 22 mid-morning. The whole air vibrated with the sense of spring, like some switch had turned on and some invisible voice had cried "You There: Be Spring!" So me, the hawk in the sky, and Charlie the Chipmunk, did just that and I am not so cool to pretend that I didn't do the odd bit of dancing and singing, if only to myself.
While out there, I tried to recall a Frost poem I had read some 30 years ago about the changing of weather, though I am not so clever to have many poems memorized (but this seems like an excellent past time to undertake if one wants to avoid early-onset dementia or Alzheimer's, doesn't it?), so I looked it up this afternoon.
It is a stanza from Frost's Two Tramps in Mud Time:
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
I thought of this because the clouds came out and suddenly, my spring-summer was gone, replaced by early spring. Charlie and I agreed that such behaviour on the part of the sun and the clouds was absolutely intolerable and immediately signed a petition on Facebook, which I am also wont to do these days...
The garden is a dreary place in early Spring...
Though compared to the three feet of snow that covered all of this three weeks ago, the scene above looks positively miraculous...
Life wants to begin again...
|The very beginning of a peony...|
|And rhubarb, that was only as large at the peony shoots last weekend...|
|The early buds of a lilac|
I noted with interest that my Holly Plant was doing very well. I couldn't even reach it to cut some Christmas last year, such was the extent of the snow by mid-December...
At my dad's funeral we had three pots of Balsam Fir, two of which have been planted in my backyard in his memory, and which seem to have survived the snow-that-never-ended just fine...
What I am always fascinated by in my garden is how such alien looking shoots can turn into such amazingly beautiful things in only weeks:
|This will be a magnolia blossom soon enough|
Everywhere in nature, the ugling ducking turns into the swan. This gives me hope for how things might turn out at the far side of this exciting journey here on earth...
Later in the day, I was taken for ice cream and then we had the most delicious takeout burgers from Relish. Both were my choices.
I was rewarded in all of my mothering pursuits by having all of my children with me for dinner, including the beloved Girlfriend (who gifted me with a necklace), who the entire family serenaded with Bless Your Beautiful Hide from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for reasons that are inexplicable to pretty much anyone but us, but I will tell you this: Spring brings out the desire to sing...
I was also the recipient of a new dress, which I may have seen in a window, tried on and brought home.
This is indeed a bit of a coquettish pose, but it was spring-summer for a few minutes today and I did want you to see that it was sleeveless....
A foot shot so you can see that I wore bright pink suede ballet flats, which seemed just the thing for a spring-feverish kind of day.
So I'll end this with a bit more Robert Frost (can there ever be too much Robert Frost?).
A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
|A Christmas Rose, in May....Don't you think that would make a nice poem? Oh wait - it already is...|
I add "Read More Poetry" to my 2014 list of things that will make me happy, and I think of how lucky I am indeed, to be able to add something so sweet and so obviously frivolous to my to-do list. Poetry and flowers remind us how fortune indeed we are... And there are many like myself who consider neither of these frivolous but the stuff which makes life worth living....
Have a lovely Monday and Stay Safe out there!