Nothing Gold Can Stay: Exploring The Places of Our Youth

While visiting my hometown this past week to help my parents with the wild blueberry harvest, I took my camera out to explore some of the areas of my youth, mainly the fields around the old homestead that me and my friend Meranda used to frequent.

You see, we were kind of horse crazy in our early teen years, and Old Man Russell had a little farm just down the road.  He had cows and work horses and lots of cats.  He liked to sell and trade the horses often, so there was always a new resident to welcome.  We often walked down to feed the horses a carrot, clean out the barn for Russell and sometimes even go for a ride around the fields.  It was a pretty perfect setup for a couple of horse crazy young girls.

Russell died some years ago and the old homestead stands empty now, the house long ago torn down and the old barn now collapsed.  The vegetation has grown up so that it practically envelopes the abandoned buildings.  Where trails and pathways across brooks used to be, now only stands a wall of shrubs and trees.

I was struck by how different everything looked to the picture I had frozen in my memory. It’s funny how you expect things to stay exactly the way you remember them, frozen in time.  It’s just not the truth.  It reminds me of that Robert Frost poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s 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.

Despite the fact that nothing gold can stay, there is still plenty of beauty here.  You just have look for it.

IMG_1430 (2)

IMG_1448

IMG_1440 (2)

IMG_1445 (2)

IMG_1452 (2)

IMG_1455 (2)

IMG_1424 (2)

 

Advertisements

Where the Land Meets the Sea

Is there any place more beautiful than where the land meets the sea?

IMG_0531

IMG_0335

IMG_0744


 

By the Seaside: The Secret of the Sea

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor’s mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;–

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;–

How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,–
‘Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!’

‘Wouldst thou,’–so the helmsman answered,
‘Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!’

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We Remember

Today, we remember.  We remember sacrifices made and lives lost.  We celebrate courage and bravery.  We practice gratitude for our remarkably free lives.

We also remember those innocent lives lost – the victims of war.  Those legions of men, women and children not in uniform.  We remember those who toiled in support of the war effort, and those who waited at home for loved ones with trembling hands and hearts.

We remember those who fought on the front lines and those who fought in the shadows.

And those who fight still.

The poppy is our symbol of remembrance – our tremulous link to a shocking past. Pinned on our breast, we wear it with pride and with trepidation.  We gather once a year to honour all those brave souls who risked it all, but also to prevent a history that repeats itself.  As if by gathering at a cenotaph each year, we can ward off the demons of war, by standing together as one, a united front of peaceful intentions.

So, for me, Remembrance Day is not only a remembering of all those that fought, but a remembering of all that we wish to gain.  And that red poppy we so proudly wear? It’s a symbol of hope as much as loss: of what we could be, of what is possible, of what is necessary.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scare heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

John McCrae

A brief history of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance: Inspired by the red poppies that stubbornly grew over the war torn fields of Flanders, Belguim, Canadian field surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel John Alexander McCrae wrote his famous poem 100 years ago.  In 1918 an American woman, Moina Belle Michael, read the poem and was so moved by it’s message of keeping the faith that she came up with the idea of wearing a red poppy as a way of remembering all those who died.  But it was a French woman by the name of Madame Anna E. Guerin who took the symbol of the poppy worldwide.  Today, millions of poppies are worn in Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and in 120 other countries worldwide.

I love this response to In Flanders Fields that I found while doing research, written by Moina Belle Michael:

We shall keep the faith  

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet – to rise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And holding high, we keep the Faith

With All who died.


We cherish, too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led;

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flower that blooms above the dead

In Flanders Fields.


And now the Torch and Poppy Red

We wear in honor of our dead.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;

We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought

In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders Fields we fought.

Lamenting the Loss of Summer

Oh Summer, Summer, where did you go?

You’ve left us all without your glow

Where do you go when the season’s done?

Are you hiding just beyond the sun?


Warm nights are gone, you’ve left us cold

The pool supplies have all been sold

The cottage at the beach sits still

To bring you back, we’d probably kill


Summer fun’s been packed away; the soup is on the stove

There are no more beach days, or swimming at the cove

We’ll wait for you impatiently, till you show yourself once more

We’re all a little worried what Old Man Winter has in store


School is in; it’s that time of year

When all you want is pumpkin beer

Summer sun, we’ll see you soon

For now, I guess, we’ll have the moon


I love to watch the seasons change

I know to some that might sound strange

Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall

But you, I’ll miss you most of all


Oh Summer, Summer, where did you go?

You’ve left us all without your glow

Where do you go when the season’s done?

Are you hiding just beyond the sun?

Springtime Dreamin’

Beware the Ides of March, indeed.  As winter pounds us with yet another snowstorm, just 5 days from the official start of spring, I think everyone is over it.  It’s time for you to go, Winter.  You’ve overstayed your welcome (if there ever was one).

IMG_0199

I’m dreaming of springtime in the Maritimes.  I love all the vibrant colours that come with the season.  Everything seems so vivid after the monochromatic winter.  People emerge from their homes as if from bomb shelters, squinting in the bright light.  The birds will sing in the early morning; there will be an obscene amount of light in the day. It will be sensory overload.  I can’t wait.

Springtime


Springtime is a Van Gogh’s dream:

Emerald green carpets,

Sapphire skies,

Blooms of ruby, citrine and amethyst.

Golden evening light;

There’s a fire in the west.

A gentle breeze whispers,

Like two lovers with a secret.

It’s coming, folks.  It’s coming.

Saints Rest Beach at Irving Nature Park on the city's West Side.