Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quote du jour/ Hal Borland


March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice. She knows when the first shadbush will blow, where the first violet will bloom, and she isn’t afraid of a salamander. She has whims and winning ways. She’s exasperating, lovable, a terror-on-wheels, too young to be reasoned with, too old to be spanked.

March is rain drenching as June and cold as January. It is mud and slush and the first green grass down along the brook. March gave its name, and not without reason, to the mad hare. March is the vernal equinox when, by the calculations of the stargazers, Spring arrives. Sometimes the equinox is cold and impersonal as a mathematical table, and sometimes it is warm and lively and spangled with crocuses. The equinox is fixed and immutable, but Spring is a movable feast that is spread only when sun and wind and all the elements of weather contrive to smile at the same time.

March is pussy willows. March is hepatica in bloom, and often it is arbutus. Sometimes it is anemones and bloodroot blossoms and even brave daffodils. March is a sleet storm pelting out of the north the day after you find the first violet bud. March is boys playing marbles and girls playing jacks and hopscotch. March was once sulphur and molasses; it still is dandelion greens and rock cress.

March is the gardener impatient to garden; it is the winter-weary sun seeker impatient for a case of Spring fever. March is February with a smile and April with a sniffle. March is a problem child with a twinkle in its eye.

Hal Borland (1900-1978)
from Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

12 comments:

  1. Makes me want to get to know March! (I don't think Mr B's talking about the kind we have here -- "she" would be kind of boring...same as last month.)

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    1. Ah, Florida. A different world altogether from me. :<)

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  2. the gardener impatient to garden
    How true!
    Here, this year, March is foggy.

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    1. And we've had a little snow, a little sun, a little rain, clouds, wind. Just about everything!

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  3. Wonderful!! I love this. I may save it to repost next year. :)

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    1. Go ahead and use it now! Great words.

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  4. Love this excerpt from Sundial of the Seasons! Hal Borland is one of my favorite nature writers and I always enjoy his quotes. He has written several other books besides Sundial of the Seasons and I have been collecting them.

    I wonder what he would think of this March? We had temperatures in the low 80s in Central Illinois yesterday. Somehow it doesn't feel normal. It scares me a little to think of what might happen if everything starts blooming and we get a freeze!

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    1. I keep meaning to read his work. Gladys Taber mentions him frequently.

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  5. I wonder whether you, like me, were led to Hal Borland's writings from Gladys Tabor's writing about him.

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    1. I just wrote above that GT mentions him! I hadn't heard of him before that!

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  6. Ah, you've taken me back to the Borland farm below Tom's Mountain along the river in northwestern Connecticut. I discovered Hal Borland back around 1970 when I discovered the outdoors and how much I loved hiking and camping. Then when we moved to CT in 1987, I wrote to his widow, Barbara, and asked to meet her. It turned into my being her assistant for a couple years when she was bedridden. She was a little difficult but we shared a love and respect for Hal and his work. I loved the farm, would like to have bought it after she died. I hope you'll read his books about his dogs too, but the best books are the ones that introduce the reader to nature in his own backyard.

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  7. Wow! Thank you for telling me all this! You ought to write about it with lots of details. I'd love to read more.

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

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