I may have spoken too soon about winter turning to spring. March has decided to revert to a lion, and the fire lives again in the hearth. Early last week, we headed out to the home of the poet William Cullen Bryant. Bryant lived on this beautiful island well over a century ago, and his home sits by a small lake looking down over a harbor. It was one of those mornings that looked as if it would be warm and sunny--particularly after all the gentle weather we had been having in February--but the wind whipped up so fiercely that Jude (age 8) needed to brace himself against a tree to keep from being swept from the path. Water poured down the steep hills in streams as if all the snows of winter had just been ordered to return to the sea.
That night, Bernadette (17) picked up a book of Bryant's poems. We have a beautiful old volume with an inscription on the front page to "Alice" from "James," dated January 1, 1879. Although the book was purchased used, both names are deeply linked to our family and feel meant just for us. Thumbing through the pages, she stopped upon one and said, "This poem exactly describes this morning."
by William Cullen Bryant
The stormy March is come at last,
With wind, and cloud, and changing skies,
I hear the rushing of the blast,
That through the snowy valley flies.
Ah, passing few are they who speak,
Wild stormy month! in praise of thee;
Yet, though thy winds are loud and bleak,
Thou art a welcome month to me.
For thou, to northern lands, again
The glad and glorious sun dost bring,
And thou hast joined the gentle train
And wear'st the gentle name of Spring.
And, in thy reign of blast and storm,
Smiles many a long, bright, sunny day,
When the changed winds are soft and warm,
And heaven puts on the blue of May.
Then sing aloud the gushing rills
And the full springs, from frost set free,
That, brightly leaping down the hills,
Are just set out to meet the sea.
The year's departing beauty hides
Of wintry storms the sullen threat;
But in thy sternest frown abides
A look of kindly promise yet.
Thou bring'st the hope of those calm skies,
And that soft time of sunny showers,
When the wide bloom, on earth that lies,
Seems of a brighter world than ours.