Nature's first green is gold,Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leafs 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.
This week I went for a spring walk on the Trail Around Middlebury, an 18-mile path that encircles the town and links several hundred acres of town land and conserved properties, as well as schools and other local landmarks. The trail is open year-round to area residents and visitors. The TAM’s continuing success is owed greatly to the generous permission of private landowners.
Boston and Vermont give us the chance to have two different experiences in time and space of the arc of the seasons. This year's spring in Vermont is at least two weeks behind Boston and seems particularly glorious and gentle after such a very long, cold and hard winter. Also, it is a bit easier to get into the woods in Vermont to see the wildness of spring. On the trail, I was struck by the abundance of spring wildflowers, white trillium and yellow trout lily and the flowering serviceberry, all delicate and seemingly small treasures poking out of the brown carpet of leaves.
Accompanied by a oven bird on my walk, I was serenaded by the bird that says, "teacher, teacher, teacher!" in a loud voice. I could even see him flying and alighting on branches just above me. All the while, I was thankful to really see what was around me and to take my time and to love this spring landscape and all its sounds and sensations and delights. This enjoyment and happiness in the natural world is largely due to my mother and all that she taught me by her side in the out- of-doors. Rachel Carson, in The Sense of Wonder, writes that we each need at least one adult who loves the natural world as our guide when we are young, and we also need lots of time to explore and play and imagine in natural landscapes. Both of these things I had and for that I am grateful.
A book that I could not put down is Ann Pelo's, The Goodness of Rain, Developing an Ecological Identity in Young Children. Ann takes us on a year-long journey with her and a toddler in her care, as they explore outside every day delighting in discovery and adventure. This book brought me home to my own beginnings and confirmed our natural inheritance as human beings to bond to the natural world in all its myriad forms. We highly recommend this book! I sent it to my friend and author, Carol Hillman and she told me that she ordered 12 copies and was going to send them to parents it as baby gifts.
This subject is also the focus of the Opal Summer Symposium in June where I will be a part of the team that presents and reflects with participants on how we might best nurture children's relationship with the natural world. Come if you can!
Tonight the peepers are peeping, the full moon is rising and the apple blossoms and lilacs are blooming. Their fragrance fills the night. May you be enfolded in the gentle spring wherever you are.