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Spring is near

March 14, 2014
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

My two favorite times of year are spring and fall. Spring is just a few weeks away and the weather is already showing signs of the passing of winter. I saw the first robin just this past Saturday.

I remember in grade school when I was 12, I could look out the window at a beautiful tall oak that sat across the street from the class room window. I watched it as the buds appeared followed by bright green leaves. I watched as different birds arrived to build their nests.

Soon the cold weather with its cold breezes started ever so slowly to change from bitter cold to cool with a little of the warm air mixed in.

Many poets have written about spring Here is the earliest poem I could find about spring, by Ovid. He was a Roman poet from AD 8. Ovid wrote a classic poem which is not known but by a few Roman scholars today. He was known as the great poet of spring or its published name Publius Ovidius Naso.

Here is how Ovid described spring in the year AD 8: "There was no thought of martial pomp-secure a happy multitude enjoyed repose. Then of her own accord the earth produced a store of every fruit. The harrow touched her not, nor did the plowshare wound her fields. And man content with given food, and none compelling, gathered arbute fruits and wild strawberries on the mountain sides, and ripe blackberries clinging to the bush, and corners and sweet acorns on the ground, down fallen from the spreading tree of Jove. Eternal Spring! Soft breathing zephyrs soothed and warmly cherished buds and blooms, produced without a seed. The valleys though unplowed gave many fruits; the fields though not renewed white glistened with the heavy bearded wheat: rivers flowed milk and nectar, and the trees, the very oak trees, then gave honey of themselves."

I can almost see the mountainsides that Ovid spoke of. The lush green trees the wild black berries and the taste of fresh honeysuckles the cool breeze with a little warmness. Some things have not changed in the 1200 years that have passed...

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 to 1892) says new spring days are filled with birds and colors

"Once more the Heavenly Power Makes all things new, And domes the red-plowed hills

With loving blue; The blackbirds have their wills, The throstles too. Opens a door in Heaven; From skies of glass A Jacob's ladder falls On greening grass, And o'er the mountain-walls Young angels pass. For now the Heavenly Power Makes all things new, thaws the cold, and fills the flower with dew; the blackbirds have their wills, the poets too." Somehow I can see the spring through Tennyson's eyes.

Finally read a prayer about spring written by Robert Frost. It is called A Prayer in spring

"Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; and make us happy in the happy bees, the swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird that suddenly above the bees is heard, the meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love, The which it is reserved for God above

To sanctify to what far ends He will, But which it only needs that we fulfill" What wonderful moving words."

So rather then write and read poems about the spring lets all get out and see first hand the changing of the seasons from a very cold winter to a beautiful warm spring day.

 
 
 

 

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