STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
This old classic from Robert Frost makes me think of a time gone by when the pace of life was a bit slower and people had time to notice things along the way.
I recently heard an interpretation of this poem that I thought was worth sharing. John R. Stilgoe, Orchard Professor in the History of Landscape, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA recently gave a lecture titled, “Suburban Force: What Really Brought Americans to the Suburbs” In it he states, ” that poem is about a man getting out of a buggy to relieve himself, and the horse doesn’t understand why they have stopped gives his harness bells a shake to ask if there is some mistake…”
Interesting thought, yes, but the point that he goes on to make is that when you travel by wagon or sleigh you went slow enough to take a look at the plants.
It was easy in that day to notice something out of the ordinary or of interest and tell the horse whoa, and then walk up to the plant. These days we look at the plants along the way from behind a windshield that is whizzing along at speeds that don’t really allow us to notice. Then when we’ve arrived at wherever we may be in a hurry to get to , we usually only look at the plants in our life through yet another window.
Most of us know what plants look good together,where they like to grow, and we might even know the Latin names of a few. But there is a whole realm of knowledge that needs to be reclaimed. In loosing our actual physical connection to the trees and plants in our environment many of us aren’t aware of what these plants are good for.
Trees and plants have many practical uses and life, in all cultures, used to be structured around the cycles of seasons and these plants. In our modern life, however, trees and plants have taken up the role of adornments and decorations to be appreciated from behind the window of office, home, commuter rail, speeding vehicle.
Let’s get out there among the trees and gardens and find out what resources and gifts have been growing all along, waiting for us to rediscover them.
Quite thoughtful. And so true. I liked the caption under the suburban house picture about how trees are now mere ornaments on our property that no one wants to tend and they look so awful. True, true.
So important: that caption on the last photo of your post!
Thanks for sharing.
Rightly said! This past year, we have just started sampling the walnuts from the black walnut trees that decided to take up residence in our back yard several years ago. Mulberries from the mulberry trees. And hackberries from the hackberry trees scattered around the neighborhood.
mmm…. how true