This morning, when I reached up into my younger daughter’s bunk to wake her, this sweet child of mine sleeping the just and untroubled sleep of the almost-ten-year-old, I glanced through the little window in her bunk and saw a profundity of apple blossoms. Ivory white with centers the crimson of newborn babes’ mouths.
I’ve seen this old tree before our house bear hundreds of apples, and then, last year, exactly six — I mean six — apples. We ate what the deer left.
Robert Frost, poet premier of stony soil, a farmer who knew this hard earth as well as anyone, wrote these spring lines:
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.
Wholly lacking sentimentality, Frost knew what lay behind, and, knowing that, knew the intimation of what was to come. In these warm days, the smear of Vermont dirt I find on my child’s foot is a glad sign we are in the springing of this year. The bees humming on the blossoms just outside my kitchen window and the peepers thrumming in the little pond are the chorus of spring, of insistent, urgent beauty, of this brief season of youthful revel. The wise poet savors that. The breeze blowing up even now will whisk these tender petals away.