Monday, October 13, 2014

Got Me Some Trees

If you've been following a bit of our journey from padding our wallets in Edson to padding Dylan's brain in Three Hills (illustration courtesy of Lauren Graham), you will know that chief among things mourned are my beautiful trees. The tall stately giants of my former yard brought peace and beauty to my life.

(I realize I've been yammering on about my childhood whimsy fairly often - here's one more - I used to name the trees in our yard where I grew up...imagine the scene when trees needed to be cleared...ah yes)

So the other day I had a window of time. Supper was miraculously on the stove, kids were busy, hubby I took off on a bike armed with my iPhone camera. Every day this glorious Fall I passed the trees of Three Hills with a sigh and a smile. Too fast to take in. Tottering on the bike seat, fumbling to pull my phone from a jean jacket pocket, standing still - 'click' - 'click'. 

There are some beauties here. I rode up the tree-lined old streets, past the picture perfect houses with quaint front doors and colourful trim, sniffing the crisp autumn air. All shades of yellow leaves on the sidewalk, all blues in the sky above. 
Up Main Street a ways, looking for a better angle. Maybe some drivers confused, "what's that woman doing in the middle of the she going to dear I think she's looking at something in that tree. How odd..."

I didn't ride that far. Just a few blocks from home really, and up and down an interesting street or two. 

Also I was a trifle unsteady at times, balancing one hand on the handle bars, one hand on the phone. So we're not looking at photography here, simply snapshots. 

Capturing autumn's glory, or trying to anyway. Sometimes it's important to do a thing even if you don't have time to do it proper justice. Like when you are fairly sure the chili is burning black on the stove. 

Birches...oh I could launch into poetic crazy. But Robert Frost did so well; read his poem "Birches" (it's long-ish but wonderful):
 When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

This one, up through the branches, reminds me of a poem I posted once:
September 30, 2011
A Walk in September

Yellow-brown leaves lie gently on 
the hardening ground
and wet grass
A mouldering fence reclines, at ease
amid the poplar stands
Tall white queens 
through sun-yellow crowns
filter cerulean sky
Regal and silent 
the owl swoops low
gray-black on a cinder snag
Berries in red translucent glory
glisten unbitten
Hidden in damp sprigs 
the embroidered
early morning frost.

There are trees in my new town. Sure, maybe not out my window, but I've got a whole town in my backyard and places for exploring. 

Thankful for October, for burnt-yellow leaves, amber harvest fields, and new trees to get to know. 

Yes I like people too, even better actually. 
But right now is a time to notice the last Herculean push of color and glory before the shedding, before the black-and-white arms of winter stand still over sparkling drifts of snow. 

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