It’s springtime here in the Maritimes, and I love all the new growth and burgeoning things. But there is one feature of the winter landscape I want to write about before I miss the moment, one I just managed to get a picture of with my new camera, in a poem about walking through the woods in March with a friend. It took me a good twenty minutes to find the poem, as I’d just flipped to it in the book and couldn’t remember title nor first line, but I persevered, and here it is. A poem about the moment before we move on to the new year.
Robert Frost, A Boundless Moment:He halted in the wind, and — what was that Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost? He stood there bringing March against his thought, And yet too ready to believe the most. ‘Oh, that’s the Paradise-in-Bloom,’ I said; And truly it was fair enough for flowers Had we but in us to assume in March Such white luxuriance of May for ours. We stood a moment so, in a strange world, Myself as one his own pretense deceives; And then I said the truth (and we moved on). A young beech clinging to its last year’s leaves.
As I drove up with my father to Charlottetown for Easter, we passed many a young beech tree clinging to its last year’s leaves. Perhaps it was because it was Easter, perhaps because it was just that I’d read this poem, perhaps because I was happy: but each time I saw one wavering pale-gold tree flaming amongst all the grey and dull maroon trunks of maples and aspen and the dark green of the spruce trees, each one to me was a shouted greeting from the strange world and the boundless moment.
It becomes something new to me to look for next winter, as I look forward to the drooping-resurrection of the rhododendron leaves, the bronzing and purpling of the semi-evergreen euonymous and ivy leaves, the hoarfrost and the snow. Something to take a picture of, on a street brilliant with new grass and yet still beautiful, still giving intimations of paradise, invitations to celebrate.