Thursday, May 28, 2015

Morning has broken

I went outside with a camera this dewy morning, before my children were up. I kept thinking of the Eleanor Farjeon hymn, Morning has Broken, sung here by Cat Stevens in 1976, and here by boy soprano Aled Jones.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Nature's first green

In my ideal world, mild spring weather and the transition from winter bleakness to summer lushness would take no less than nine months. Gaunt branches would remain half bare, just softened by the airy lace of filmy yellow-green leaves, apple trees would cling to their frothy blossoms, gallant daffodils would keep fresh and yellow, and starry woodland blooms would bob above the dead oak leaves for months before being overtaken by the heat-loving undergrowth. As it is, every day or two or three there is a change which brings both beauty and loss. The particular beauty of the days before will not be seen again for a year. I grieve when warmer days green the trees with a rush and hurry the flowers to cast petals and make seed.

But while I regret every decorative change of spring's progress, I would draw my garden plants to maturity by force of will if I could. I've been spending hours in my garden every day, digging, mulching, weeding, seeding, amending soil with old horse manure and dreaming of snap peas and and arugula salad. There I am a practical farmer, a sensible hobbit instead of a regretful, backward looking elf. The contrast in these feelings interests me.

While in the regretful, backward looking mode, I think  about Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," indulging in the pretty images and the neatness of the rhymes and rhythm. In the biggest scheme of things, I don't believe this poem is altogether true, but in the spring it fits my mood.

"Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."

This painting by English painter Duncan Grant, 1885-1978, is from the Tate Gallery.