Pricked by Nature
Whan that Aprille, with hise shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open eye-
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages-
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
. . . and so on. Saturday afternoon, I returned from my pilgrimage to the Christopher Newport Writers’ Conference in Newport News.
From Williamsburg to Richmond, I drove along Rt. 5, the road past all the colonial plantations. Trees were budding in the wonderful shade of pale gold-green that is spring. Some fields were greening, but many were dead and brown-beige, evidence of the Round-Up™ spraying that has replaced plowing as the preferred method of cultivation. Even in the midst of the toxic wasteland, I could still see the wonders of budding spring if I looked at the trees and not the ground.
Early spring always reminds me of Robert Frost’s poem:
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
As I type this entry, I can look out my study window and see nature’s early spring treasure: green fields and gold-green trees:
However, soon the field will be sprayed so that genetically modified corn can be planted. The woods are already being logged out about a quarter mile to the east. When I go outside, I hear the chainsaws and see the logging trucks. The logger told my husband they’ll cut every tree over a foot in diameter.
Meanwhile, before the chainsaws start, the “smale foweles" wake me early with their singing, we had a “shoure soote” last night, and the “flours” are “engendered” as all get-out.
Nothing gold can stay. I’ve got to remember that.