Saturday, April 27, 2013

April in Boston

It's been almost two weeks since terrible things happened in Boston.
Two years ago, I visited that city on a Saturday in April.
It was just a bus trip,
I was just a tourist
who instantly fell in love with Beantown -
its place in history
its sense of humor
and its somewhat, let's just say, feisty residents.
It was only for a day.
I took lots of photos.
Looking over them today... is a bittersweet experience.

My heart goes out to all who were wounded, in body or in spirit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Earth Day, Everyone

Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, 
dispel the clouds which hang over our brows,
and take up a little life into our pores.
     HDT, Walden 

No words from me today, I'm going out a-walking.
Here's a poem from Henry.


O nature I do not aspire
To be the highest in thy quire,
To be a meteor in the sky
Or comet that may range on high,
Only a zephyr that may blow
Among the reeds by the river low.

Give me thy most privy place
Where to run my airy race.
In some withdrawn unpublic mead
Let me sigh upon a reed,
Or in the woods with leafy din
Whisper the still evening in.

For I had rather be thy child
And pupil in the forest wild
Than be the king of men elsewhere
And most sovereign slave of care
To have one moment of thy dawn
Than share the city's year forlorn.

Some still work give me to do
Only be it near to you.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Winter Breaks Up

We are affected like the earth,
and yield to the elemental tenderness;
winter breaks up within us;
the frost is coming out of me,
and I am heaved like the road;
accumulated masses of ice and snow dissolve,
and thoughts like a freshet pour down unwonted channels.

HDT Journal, March 21, 1853

Time marches on.
March has come -- and gone -- being not much more than a repeat of February.

Oh, it’s the month of my birth-day, and Easter -- days to observe with thoughts of rebirth and renewal ... but the outdoors doesn’t seem to be on the same calendar page as our hearts are.

I rejoice at the ever-lengthening daylight – but man, it’s still freezin' !

One day after the First Day of Spring, we got a few more inches of snow.
I no longer consider “playing” in it. 

My spirit (and skin) begin to chafe at the necessity of wearing longjohns for any outdoor activities.
The river thaws - then re-freezes - several times. On my walks along the Hudson River, wind is chilling me, but it is also breaking up the ice into bite-size pieces.

As April began, wan sunshine alternated with snow flurries.
It’s the breeziest Spring I can ever remember.
The patient plants hold back, despite our longing to see them.

The birds, being more mobile, are more adventurous, and appear just in time to boost our spirits.

What little snow cover there was seems to erode, more than melt.
The ground it reveals is covered with the dry brown crunchiness of old leaves.

Dauntless friends gather to walk about in the woods. We paw at the ground like deer, hoping to turn up something green.
These are the days when many a Lichenist is made.

There are other types of reminders -- and omens -- of Spring

But lo ! one day of warmth, then a few more with steady rain, and the world transforms.
You walk more relaxed, your feet making contact with the softening earth again.

Here and there, the search for green life is rewarded.

Familiar faces now return. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Last of the Winter’s Whine

Everywhere snow,
gathered into sloping drifts about the walls and fences,

and, beneath the snow, the frozen ground,
and men are compelled to deposit the summer’s provision
in burrows in the earth like the ground squirrel.

Many creatures, daunted by the prospect,
migrated in the fall,
but man remains and walks over the frozen snow-crust
and over the stiffened rivers and ponds,
and draws now upon his summer store.

Life is reduced to its lowest terms.
There is no home for you now,
in this freezing wind,
but in that shelter which you prepared in the summer.
You steer straight across the fields to that in season.
I can with difficulty tell when I am over the river.

There is a similar crust over my heart.

Where I rambled in the summer and gathered flowers
and rested on the grass by the brook-side in the shade,
now no grass
nor flowers,

no brook
nor shade,
but cold, unvaried snow,
stretching mile after mile,
and no place to sit.

   HDT Journal, February 19, 1852

This February has proved to me
that you can still develop a bad case of Cabin Fever,
even if you spend as much of your free time outdoors as possible.
The month of November was Thoreau’s “Eat-Heart” time, but for me,
that time is February.
(from the sound of the Journal excerpt above, it sounds like things were getting to our intrepid Henry at this time of year, as well. )
So humor me whilst I let out this long-simmering rant, and bid a fond farewell to February !

Oh, in the early part of the month, we were favored with a few more small sprinklings of fresh snow –
whereupon we scurried out on our snowshoes, going nowhere in particular –
Those happy mornings, with bright sunshine gleaming off the new snow, seem far away now.

By mid-month, the snow got old,
and rained-on,
and crusty,
then rained-on again,

And the endless grey blanket of clouds parted only enough
to let a gust of icy wind through the gap,
wind that would persuade you back into your burrow,
until sitting on the couch, finishing a book I started six months ago,
seemed a much much better idea.

Alas ! I am hard-pressed to find even the tiniest bits of color to liven up my photos … in reviewing them, I see an endless slideshow of brown and grey days.

In the midst of my foul mood, I realize
that the sparks of warmth that gets one through it all
come not from the sun, but from family and friends.
And Life quietly goes on despite the cold, biding its time.
There’s a reason February is the shortest month –
any longer, and we just couldn’t stand it  !