Monday, March 14, 2011

Poet's Trees

  Today I was walking toward the afternoon sun.  The sun occasionally shone through the cloud cover and lit up the young beech trees that are still clinging to last fall's leaves.  There was something poetic about those moments.
Robert Frost must have thought so too.

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.
The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last long aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?
                                                                    By Robert Frost

  Dried leaves that have failed to fall are commonly seen on young oaks and beeches. I've read that retaining the old leaves may deter browsing. There may be other benefits as well. The word for this phenomenon is marcescence.

 Lingering leaves are lovely.

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