Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April in my neck of the woods

From Spring, a 1941 essay by E.B. White:

There is a stanza in Robert Frost's poem "Two Tramps in Mud Time" that describes an April moment when air and sky have a vernal feeling, but suddenly a cloud crosses the path of the sun and a bitter little wind finds you out, and you're back in the middle of March. Everyone who has lived in the country knows that sort of moment - the promise of warmth, the raised hope, the ruthless rebuff.

There is another sort of day that needs celebrating in song - the day of days when spring at last holds up her face to be kissed, deliberate and unabashed. On that day no wind blows either in the hills or in the mind, no chill finds the bone. It is a day that can come only in a northern climate, where there has been a long background of frigidity, a long deficiency of sun.

We've just been through this magical moment - which was more than a moment and was a whole morning - and it lodges in memory like some old romance, with the same subtlety of tone, the same enrichment of the blood, and the enchantment and the mirth and the indescribable warmth. ... The full impact wasn't felt until the sun had climbed higher. Then came, one after another, the many small caresses that added up to the total embrace of warmth and life - a laziness and contentment in the behavior of animals and people, a tendency of man and dog to sit down somewhere in the sun. ... When I went back through the kitchen I noticed that the air that had come in was not like an invader but like a friend who had stopped by for a visit.


We've had just such a day today. There is a little breeze, as there almost always is on this hill, but it is just enough to tinkle the wind chimes. The air has a soft feeling, the light is so gentle, and even the songs of the chickadee, the junco, the robin are more subdued. There is a calm which has come over the whole of Windy Poplars Farm, and we are all grateful.


34 comments:

  1. You got really close to that chipmunk. What kind of camera did you use?

    I really like your blog. Our cat slept in the sun all day. It was nice weather here too.

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  2. Hi Fern, I was standing on the porch looking down about 3 feet where the little fellow was. I have a super duper lens my husband gave me so I can take closeups. Thank you for your nice words. Is it serendipity that "Fern" is the name of the little girl in E.B. White's, Charlotte's Web? :<)

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  3. I loved this post so much I read it twice in a row! And I totally understand every word of it! :)

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  4. Oh, Alison, thank you!! I'm so glad you came by and enjoyed his words.

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  5. beautiful post! I always visit your blog daily.

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  6. Isn't that so beautifully said? I am, mentally, bowing to E.B. (and to you for posting this). I just put a link on my blog to that Yankee magazine article about the Canadian/New England border that you told me about. It was really excellent and set me thinking (and set me off a bit). Thanks for the tip.

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  7. Hi Nan:

    This is a beautiful post, almost a love letter to this wonderful season.

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  8. That is a brilliant Chipmunk photo. I think I might use it as my desktop picture for a while; I just love it.

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  9. Nan, I love the pic of that cute little chipmunk!

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  10. Thank you, Gigi. I'm very pleased you like it.

    KSV, I love E.B. White's work so much. Glad you got to read the article. It opened my eyes, I'll tell ya!

    Donna, isn't he just the best!

    Scriptor, the little one is our desktop pic right now. :<)

    Sherri, I was so happy he or she sat still long enough for me to get a good picture. I must have taken 50!

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  11. That was a beautiful choice from E.B. White. Certainly is the way I've been feeling these days after a winter that just seemed too long.

    Out with the dogs in the morning, even though the air still has that early spring bite, the sun seems just a bit warmer. Does better for Pepper's arthritis too - soon we'll both be sitting on the deck in the heat, staring at the neighbors across the fence...can't wait... :)

    Great posts, Nan - really appreciate them!
    - J.

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  12. You know that captured the 'moment’ so entirely and completely. We also had that very same moment at Locks Park too! Maybe the world is shrinking...

    Nan I've just read a book that moved me and was very thought provoking. 'Still Alice' by Lisa Genova - it's a story about early onset Alzheimer's from the suffers point of view. Have you read it?

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  13. Nan, your words described exactly how it is in my part of the world.
    A warm day and you feel Spring is here. Then a cold day and then a rain that last for several days along with the mud. But the Sun felt wonderful today.
    Again your words were so special.

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  14. Thank you, Jeff, Paula, and One Woman for your notes. I love hearing from you, and knowing the weather in your parts of the world. Paula, I haven't read it, but I've read a few rave reviews.

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  15. I used to love chipmunks until they started digging holes around the house. Our neighborhood was having a hard time with chipmunks destabilizing the foundations. Such a small animal but very efficient diggers.

    Now that I'm in Hawaii, I love looking at them and remembering how cute they are. Terrific photo!

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  16. He wrote so beautifully. We haven't seen any chipmunks yet - although we did note a prowling cat...hmmm.

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  17. And we are having a day such as this! It's 67, the sun is out after rain last night and early this morning, the air is clean, the birds are chirping and the flowers are bursting with color. Thanks for the lovely, lovely post (and photos!), Nan!

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  18. Oh, didn't you capture it perfectly?! I've never read that beautiful quote before, now quite seen such a perfect header in one's blog as yours. I'm really, really entranced by the beauty and simplicity that you've achieved here, Nan. It's soothing to my heart, much needed right now, and thank you for your kind words today (as always).

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  19. A beautiful ode to spring - my favourite season. Thank you, Nan. This was wonderful.

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  20. What a simply lovely post. Your days are quite like ours here in Georgia. That will all change with the onset of May.
    Thanks for the link to yoru yogurt maker. I am really pleased with making my own. It gives me a sense of accomplishment, even if the milk is doing all the work!
    I think your squirrel in your new banner is adorable.

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  21. E.B. White is one of our favorites. I think I have all his collected essays. We also have enjoyed a couple of extraordinary days, but today has been coldish and windy, so we came inside early to the fire, tea, and the computer.

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  22. Never heard of that Robert Frost poem... will have to check it out!

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  23. Beautiful words Nan. We had such a day yesterday, you have summed up my feelings exactly.

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  24. Colleen, spring must have a different feel this year, eh? Thank you.

    Karin, in May we'll have some daffodil flowers!

    Commonweeder, I love E.B. White, too. Today is very, very cloudy and dark and cool. But the birds are all singing - they know it is spring.

    Tim, it's a great poem. Thanks for stopping by.

    Cait, I love to read anything E.B. White wrote!

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  25. exactly!! what a perfect excerpt.

    we're expecting some days like that this weekend.

    And I took a picture of a chipmunk this week too. So cute :)

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  26. Thank you, Island Sparrow! Gosh, the last few days have been so cool and cloudy and now rainy. It was brighter in the winter! I am very fond of chipmunks.

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  27. Susie, isn't E.B. White wonderful?!

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  28. This was just beautiful. We're having one of those days today, aren't we?

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  29. Sarah, it is just gorgeous out, though I've spent much of the day right here at my computer!

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