The Worth of a Tree

After Obama as a senator had been on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, host Peter Sagal mentioned they had to scrap the charisma off the floor. Last night, my local bookstore, The Galaxy Bookshop, asked Howard Frank Mosher’s brother Terry to read from Mosher’s posthumous collection of stories, and I’m sure the booksellers had to sweep what might be described as just plain Niceness off the floor. What a lovely family. What weeping. What laughter. What a life, Mr. Mosher.

Terry Mosher spoke about a Robert Frost poem their father read to the boys when they young, and mentioned how deeply and tenaciously those lines rooted in his brother’s fiction. He quoted, “The trial by market everything must come to,” and noted that all through Mosher’s writing runs rural people fighting against measuring land in monetary terms, the worth of life in dollars and cents, which sums up one of the deepest conundrums in current Vermont — or stretch that way, way beyond my Green Mountain State borders, far into the terrain of human nature.

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country…
— From Robert Frost’s “Christmas Trees”
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Where we are