EMERSON SNOW — THE POET’S PERSPECTIVE

What poets do with disasters is turn them into art.

Here is my favorite childhood poem about snow.  You don’t need a picture, as you have snow all around you, still.

Let us hope that Poe’s “Forevermore” is not our snow reality.

The Snow-Storm

BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,

Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,

Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air

Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,

And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.

The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet

Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

 

Come see the north wind’s masonry.

Out of an unseen quarry evermore

Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer

Curves his white bastions with projected roof

Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.

Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work

So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he

For number or proportion. Mockingly,

On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;

A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;

Fills up the farmer’s lane from wall to wall,

Maugre the farmer’s sighs; and, at the gate,

A tapering turret overtops the work.

And when his hours are numbered, and the world

Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,

Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art

To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,

Built in an age, the mad wind’s night-work,

The frolic architecture of the snow.

 


             

“Create a Meadow in Your Own Yard” at D&R Greenway Feb. 26

NJWILDBEAUTY readers may know that I work at D&R Greenway Land Trust most days, determined to save New Jersey Land.  For reasons beyond counting, actually.

A key purpose in this quest is to create and maintain and even restore habitat for wild creatures.

On February 26, the public may attend a meadow program at D&R Greenway — to nourish wild beauty in your very own yard:

D&R Greenway Land Trust offers a presentation on forming your own wildflower meadow, by Conservation Biologist, Diana Raichel, Wednesday, February 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Jim Springer of the North American Butterfly Association and Dan Cariveau, native bee expert with Rutgers University, will join Ms. Raichel.  Together they create meadows on D&R Greenway preserves.

Titled “Creating a Meadow in Your Own Yard,” this program presents techniques to transform the  home yard into a welcome site for bees, butterflies and birds.  The program is free.  Call 609-924-4646 to enroll, or rsvp@drgeenway.org.  D&R Greenway is located at One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, Princeton, 08540.  6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Suitable for teens and older.

“PAX” — WHEN STORM IS NORM

Snowbound

Snow Incarceration

“PAX”– WHEN STORM IS NORM

A single vulture wildly wheels past my study window.  We are in the midst of worsening onslaughts of our latest named storm, ironically titled “Pax”.  If vultures rise and ride the winds, this may mean we are in a mid-day hiatus, for which I am profoundly grateful.

I deal with ordeals by journaling, by day and by night.  This post is a constellation of journal entries, as snow wraps us yet again in worry and wonder.

What Storm Pax has accomplished in my yard is the near disappearance of a table and two chairs.  Because of snow mounded high on chair seats, I can no longer see the metal table top.  The storm before this amazed me as snow hats on table and chairs grew to the hight of my father’s Knox hat boxes on the front-hall-closet shelf.  Pax-snow on top of Knox snow is simply astonishing.

Maybe the climate is trying to teach those of us who have ruined it — be astonished.  And act to end catastrophic climate change.

“My back is up” because of a Weather Channel pundit.  After after showing us, in Atlanta, a ruined historic building [– ice had vanquished its roof, which fell, taking several walls with it –], she blithely blamed this destruction upon Mother Nature.  I turned it off in a huff, convinced that they are ordered to do so.

It’s not Mother Nature, folks, it is we who are ruining climate and planet.

As a poet, I am among the first to see beauty in snow.  As someone who works (four days a week at D&R Greenway Land Trust to save the New Jersey part of the planet), I am almost brutally aware of snow’s perils.  Even as one who avidly skiied, who survived and even thrived throughout Michigan and Minnesota winters, I recoil before these severities.

Everyone should.  Everyone should wake up.

What is oddest about Snowstorm Pax (mispronounced by experts who seem not to get irony of Pax’s meaning — peace) is that these ceaseless flakes fall upon and stick to to snows from yesterdays.  Meaning that snow no longer melts between storms.

Deciduous trees in this forest are striped more relentlessly than skunks.  Upper branches are Pax-clotted.  Even though these trees are now swaying with mid-day winds, they do not divest themselves of vertical stripes.  Only one pine tree, –the largest–, shivered and shuddered and shrugged off its snow burdens.  All our other evergreens are white, never green.

Beneath the snowed table is a hollow, this storm’s lair.  On various shoveling-excursions, I hear the storm changing its tune.  Mutters lead on to snarls, then growls.

I experience “Pax” as a wild beast, shaking all of us in its maw, feverish glints in narrowed eyes.  The beast begins to spit – as snow itself becomes audible, almost crackling, it sticks like white chewing gum to vertical walls of this house.

In the night, I could watch snow change form by porchlight.  It went from cascades of table salt to Wondra flour.  Then, suddenly, flakes and clumps.  It became impossible to see into the forest. What began to fall seemed like powdered sugar sifted by a mad cook, unsing a sifters with squeezable handle.  Over and over.  Faster and faster.

Visibility became myth, something vaguely remembered.

Snow increasingly stuck to the house walls, like hundreds like hundreds of cottonballs glued there by some mad craftsperson.

Snow became Lux flakes, torn doilies.

It landed on my head with uncomfortable clumps, clots in my hair, dripping down onto my shoulders and neck, making me shiver like the large pine.

I am reading “Saving Italy” by Robert Edsle, author of “Monuments Men.”  I’m slogging through northern Italy, near the end of the war, hunting for Nazi caches of the most legendary art of civilisation.  Throughout this book and these storms, I feel under siege — blitzkrieg without air raid sirens.  We become victims and refugees.  Some die. Historic buildings collapse.

Now my front door is a mosaic of water droplets.  I decide they are the tears of the Planet.

Petrochemical excess is the reason for our ceaseless storms, and those of Asia, and of Europe and the overflowing rivers of Britain.  Face it, everyone. 

The Weather Channel’s ascribing these terrors to Mother Nature is like the tobacco industry using doctors to promote smoking, –turning everyone’s heads away from cancer of the lungs and cancer of the bladder – their enormous secret.

We are causing cancer of the climate.  Wake up!  Turn this around.  Now

We are not meant to live in a world where Storm is the Norm.

1 A blizzard deer feeding 2014

Deer Tries to Feed in Storm

Beginning NJWILDBEAUTY BLOG

Fisherman Island Beach

Fisherman Island Beach

Someone has to stand up for Mother Nature.  It’s not her fault that everywhere it is always storming.  It’s ours – for petrochemical greed.  But more of that later.  I start this new blog to stand up for Nature in New Jersey.

Although not a New Jersey Native, I have come to love this state for her natural beauty.  Since 2008, I have been blogging for the Princeton Packet — NJ WILD (which see).

Friends urge me to start my own blog, independently.  No better time than this to spread the news about our state.  We’re not called The Garden State for nothing.

Far beyond gardens is our remarkable wild beauty — especially in preserves we have been enlightened enough to form and maintain.

We are due to be the first state completely built-out, in a decade or two, according to a Rutgers Study.

In the meantime, places such as my own D&R Greenway Land Trust, are paying any price, bearing any burden to save New Jersey land, for farming, hiking, birding, photography and art, and yes, hunting and fishing.

We are the only state with three coastlines.  All of them beautiful, except where greed has punctured them with dikes and pipes and docks.  But we’re cleaning up our treasured Delaware River, so that shad literally run each spring, will run again, soon.

We’re removing dikes in vital marshlands, so that tides may course in and out as Nature always designed.  This allows native plants to thrive, and therefore birds and animals who evolved with these natives to prosper.

In the months ahead, I will remember earlier nature quests, and set off on new ones.  All of them with you in mind.

When I learn how to import my photographs, I’ll do that gleefully.  Meanwhile, you may see them by googling NJ WILD nature blog.

What I hope is that NJWILDBEAUTY will lure you to scenes of such peace and majesty, that you will forever distance yourself from the crowd who makes jokes about WHAT EXIT.  I venture to say, at every NJTPK exit, wildbeauty exists.  Come discover it with me.

Wild Grasses Island Beach Trail

High Water Nature Trail Island Beach