"Instead of calling on some scholar, I paid many a visit to particular trees, of kinds which are rare in this neighborhood, standing far away in the middle of some pasture, or in the depths of a wood or swamp, or on a hilltop; such as ... the beech, which has so neat a bole and beautifully lichen-painted, perfect in all its details, of which, excepting scattered specimens, I know but one small grove of sizable trees left in the township, supposed by some to have been planted by the pigeons that were once baited with beechnuts near by; it is worth the while to see the silver grain sparkle when you split this wood..." Thoreau
(There are four of these great trunks in a row I must pass on every walk into town. They are like great Elephant legs, like Ganesh on a tightrope and I would know this tree anywhere now. I hope these are never split for fire wood.)
"One Crow Sorrow, Two Crows Joy
Three crows a Letter, Four crows Boy
Five Crows silver, Six crows Gold
Seven crows a secret never to be told."
SONNET: THE CROW
How peaceable it seems for lonely men
To see a crow fly in the thin blue sky
Over the woods and fealds, o'er level fen
It speaks of villages, or cottage nigh
Behind the neighbouring woods--when march winds high
Tear off the branches of the huge old oak
I love to see these chimney sweeps sail by
And hear them o'er the knarled forest croak
Then sosh askew from the hid woodmans stroke
That in the woods their daily labours ply
I love the sooty crow nor would provoke
Its march day exercises of croaking joy
I love to see it sailing to and fro
While feelds and woods and waters spread below.
Or "What's Going On Down There?"
Groundhog day has me meditating on what we don't see --that whole subterranean world under the snow. Never mind that I was snowed in for two days this week (again!) and the report is that neighbour Phil (Punxsutawney) saw his shadow and we will have 6 more weeks of this muted and stalled sluggishness...A walk earlier in the week in the middle of the schizophrenia of freeze and thaw revealed that many gardens in my neighbourhood, including mine show that "There are more things (em, under) Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in (my) philosophy." Not everyone is asleep in this winter torpidity. MOLES (Talpa europaea) are apparently quite busy in their blind housekeeping. I began wondering where else around the world one might see these tell-tale signs...France, England--just how extensive is this subway system? And has Spring Cleaning already begun?
"The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said 'Bother!' and 'O blow!' and also 'Hang spring-cleaning!' and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gavelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, 'Up we go! Up we go!' till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
'This is fine!' he said to himself. 'This is better than whitewashing!' The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow till he reached the hedge on the further side."
"The pines are certainly the finest trees. In point of size there are none to surpass them. They tower above all the others, forming a dark line that may be distinguished for many miles. The pines are so much loftier than the other trees, are sooner uprooted, as they receive the full and unbroken force of the wind in their tops; thus it is that the ground is continually strewn with the decaying trunks of huge pines."
-Catherine Parr Traill
"Of all such appeals to sensory recollection, none are more powerful, none open a wider door in the brain than an appeal to the nose. It is a sense that every lover of the elemental world ought to use, and using, enjoy. We ought to keep our senses vibrant and alive. Had we done so, we should never have built a civilization which outrages them, which so outrages them indeed, that a vicious circle has been established and the dull sense grown duller." -Henry Beston
"it is a good rule to practice oneself in catching every sweet and delightful fragrance." -Charlotte Mason
a ripe pear