Saturday, October 7, 2017

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

















Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.

My Handsome Husband quoted Keats as we walked along a branch of the Zim Smith Trail in Malta this week.

It is late in the season for woodland wildflowers. Most of what remains are asters, although a few other plants still valiantly bloom in an occasional sunny spot. But fruits and brown seed heads abound to provide their own beauty and add interest to the landscape.

And it was a beautiful day.

Nature is such a healer. Being outdoors, moving, observing, admiring, breathing: it all feels so good, so healthy, so peaceful. In a season when our country has lately witnessed so much destruction and human misery, both natural and man-made, it is good to have a place to go to walk quietly, to be quiet.

We live in a town where development is gobbling up the open spaces. I worry that there is not enough attention being paid to preserving land for future parks and nature areas. 

Here is what lured many of us to come live in this town in the first place: the sense of community, the grazing horses, the great blue herons, the wild turkeys, the views across the upper Hudson Valley. All of these things are rapidly disappearing in Malta. It makes me sad. Many of us grouse about development and increased traffic,  but I wonder: do we have the energy and enough consensus to push back, to advocate for land preservation, safe sidewalks, biking lanes, historical preservation, and a healthy environment? I hope so.


***
Today, I picked up a knitting project that has been lying around undisturbed for far too long. My notes tell me that I started this sweater in September (cough) of 2015. I know that I am not the only knitter/sewer/crafter who sometimes sets things aside for long spells, for any number of reasons. But it aggravates me when I think about how close to finishing this project I was when I pushed it aside. Grrr. (For you knitters, the pattern is the Ramona cardigan, found on Ravelry.)

But now that this sweater has returned to active duty, so to speak,  I  have finished one sleeve and am "well begun" on the second. ( I can hear Mary Poppins in my head as I write this. She was fond of the expression, Well begun is half done. I believe  she was quoting Aristotle. Really. Look it up.)

The wool I am knitting is heavy and warm and still has bits of straw in it. It comes from neighboring Washington County sheep and the Battenkill mill there. I am happy to report that in Washington County, there is still room for grazing sheep and wading herons and preserved history and amazing views. Long may those things thrive there.

Wishing you peace on this fall weekend.

~~
To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
                             ~John Keats









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