Paradise-in-Bloom


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.

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