The trees and shrubs of the arboretum have been awake for two weeks. During the next month the trees will extend their canopy to block the sun which right now flashes splashes of light on the ground where Spring flowers and grasses grow. Soon, the lush bushes will hide the scenes I can see now.
The delicate pink flowers, called Yellowroot, grow in patches in oases of light. These Spring plants have to move fast to force their buds to bloom and bear seeds before the oaks and hickorys soak up all the light.
Like the old country boy I once heard about, I sat on a bench looking at the scene. When asked what he was doing, old man said he was just sitting: “Sometimes, I sits and thinks, and sometimes, I just sits.” This time I was thinking.
I sat there and with nobody listening, I spoke Frost’s poem out loud. Forget that his poem is written about a winter scene. I think Robert Frost would have done equally well had it been Spring.
The gist of the poem goes like this:
“Whose woods these are, I think I know.
His house is in the village, though.
He will not see me stopping by to
see his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer,
to stop without a farmhouse near,
the darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
to ask if there’s been some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and
The woods are lovely dark and deep,
but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
That wasn’t odd enough, I suppose, so in the next moment, still sitting on the bench, I
recited out loud one of John Keats’ last poems, a poem not
about Spring at all. Here are some of the lines as I remember them:
“When I have fears that I may cease to be before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
before high pil-ed books in charactery hold like rich garners the full ripened grain,
And when I behold upon the night’s starred face huge cloudy symbols of a high romance
and think that I may never live to trace them with the magic hand of chance,
Then, on the shores of the wide world, I sit and think ’til love and fame to nothingness do sink.”
I hope you don’t mind that I’ve forgotten lines of both poems and even missed getting a word right here and there. Today, these fragments of beauty and reflections on time’s passing were God’s gift to me, my first prayers of consolation in a long time.