Mariton: Snow and the Vernal Equinox
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager
Last week, I would go inside during breaks in my plowing and shoveling to flip on the television to see the latest predictions. I found both disdain and amusement in the anchors who showed such shock that a winter storm could strike so close to the Vernal Equinox. My, my. I am ready for some spring too, but all things will come in good time. Sitting on the tractor I knew there was verse that addressed my feelings on the situation. Over the weekend I went to the bookshelves. (Sure, I could have typed in a few key words and quickly found the poem. It just isn’t the same – just as it isn’t the same to read about the outdoors without actually going outside.) I found what I was looking for in Robert Frost’s The Onset. In high school I was attracted to Frost’s poetry. Sure, he wasn’t as hip as some of the modern poets, but he sure captured the many moods of nature. He put into words the same things I had been discovering as a young woods walker. In the following poem he also captured my mood about the latest snow fall.
by Robert Frost
Always the same, when on a fated night
At last the gathered snow lets down as white
As may be in dark woods, and with a song
It shall not make again all winter long
Of hissing on the yet uncovered ground,
I almost stumble looking up and round,
As one who overtaken by the end
Gives up his errand, and lets death descend
Upon him where he is, with nothing done
To evil, no important triumph won,
More than if life had never been begun.
Yet all the precedent is on my side:
I know that winter death has never tried
The earth but it has failed: The snow may heap
In long storms an undrifted four feet deep
As measured against maple, birch and oak,
It cannot check the peeper’s silver croak;
And I shall see the snow all go down hill
In a water of a slender April rill
That flashes tail through last year’s withered brake
And dead weeds, like a disappearing snake.
Nothing will be left white but here a birch
And there a clump of houses with a church.