Saturday, March 9, 2013

‘Till even the comforting barn grows far away’

A view of our barn from the house during Friday's storm.

Surveying the damage from yet another nor’easter, I think we were pretty lucky.

A tree near the dog kennel snapped from the burden of snow and tug of wind.

The accordion truck bed cover on the Dodge Ram collapsed from the massive weight of water, snow and ice.

Looking around the yard, there are so many broken limbs that we’ll have to wait until the snow melts to unearth them. Two logs still cling to the snow-covered roof from the last storm.

Yet overall, we view this latest onslaught by Mother Nature as just another chapter of this highly unpredictable winter.

Shoveling the brick front stairs and path to the driveway, I have plenty of time to think about the extra work and hardship the recent bouts of wild weather have caused: days without power, a dwindling wood pile, empty cupboards, traffic accidents, coastal flooding, downed trees, delays and loss of wages.

But as I see the artistry around me, the puffy white cotton clinging to tree branches, dusting evergreens and creating fields of virgin snow, I am spellbound by its beauty.

The sky is blue, the air crisp and clean. Everything sparkles wearing its fresh new coat of snow.

A few years ago I spent some time at The Frost Place, Poet Robert Frost’s 1915 farm homestead in Franconia, New Hampshire.

Tucked in the White Mountains, the house offered a spectacular view; but as I gazed from his covered porch in October, I pictured what it looked like in winter.

Off the beaten path or in the words of the poet, somewhere along “the road not taken,” this place must have been cut off from civilization in wintertime.

Many of his poems are set in this remote backdrop, including “Dust of Snow,” “Fire and Ice,” “Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter,” “The Mountain,” “An Old Man’s Winter Night,” “Snow,” “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” “A Winter Eden” and “The Wood-Pile.”

But Frost, who was aptly named, also felt the dread of a nor’easter. He captured these feelings in “Storm Fear”:

“How drifts are piled, / Dooryard and road ungraded, / Till even the comforting barn grows far away, / And my heart owns a doubt / Whether ‘tis in us to arise with day / And save ourselves unaided.”

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