Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Dark, Wet, Rainy Night

It is a perfect night to be indoors and now I can finally sit and enjoy the fire. Evenings this week have been busy--turkeys to finish up on Monday night, then cider to can last night and tonight because we needed the freezer space. My summer clothes needed to be put away (envy, envy of those of you who have space to keep everything out all year!) and the winter clothes taken out and hung in the closet. I also needed to cook something with some of the turkey we cooked Sunday. Larry made turkey salad for my lunch, but we still had a lot left over, so tonight I made turkey noodle casserole, enough for a couple nights. And there is still turkey left over! It will go in the freezer until Sunday, when I will make something else with it.

So now I am done with all my work and enjoying the fireplace and the quiet drip of rain. The forecast says we have a possibility of snow showers tomorrow, I think, but I'm doubtful of that. I expect it might snow in the higher mountains, not an unusual occurrence for them at this time of year. I've been browsing through some of the books I bought at the used book sale a couple weeks ago and enjoying them immensely. Here are a few I'm reading:

A Thread of Blue Denim by Patricia Leimbach brought back a flood of memories. I believe she used to write a column somewhere that I read regularly, and I am positive I have read other books by her. A potato farming family in Ohio, Leimbach's writing is funny, nostalgic, and down to earth. She loves her farm and her life and it shows. This book was published in 1977, and she's written more since. For those into homesteading or country living, her book is a joy to read. I linked the title to a copy offered on eBay for $1.00, just in case anyone might be interested. A Thread of Blue Denim is also available for $.49 at Amazon.

I've also been reading a book called The Big It and Other Stories by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. who won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Way West. Published in 1960, the writing is just stellar, characters well developed and the western setting depicted so clearly that I can see the people and places easily as I read. This title is also available online for just $1.00.

Then there is Come Hither: a Collection of Rhymes and Poems for the Young of All Ages by Walter de la Mare. I've just been skimming the poems, stopping at ones I particularly like, but the book has a wealth of information in the story about the book at the beginning, and the section of notes called About and Roundabout. These are old favorites, many of them, and others are new to me, or are ballads, bits from plays, etc. The Green Man Review says: "This is one of those magical books which can be read in many ways and on a number of levels. It is any and all of the following:
1. A poetry anthology for children
2. An elegant Edwardian ghost story about a strange book found in an old house owned by a mysterious author
3. An at times pagan allegory about Nature and dream
4. A book within a book within a book, being a reproduction of the book the author read as a young boy in the old house
5. Walter de la Mare's musings on a wide range of topics, from folklore to books to old Scottish and Irish ballads.
Here is one of my favorites from the collection that speaks well to this time of year:

by Canon Dixon

The feathers of the willow
are half of them grown yellow
above the swelling stream;
And ragged are the bushes,
and rusty are the rushes
and wild the clouded gleam.

The thistle now is older,
his stalk begins to moulder'
his head is white as snow;
the branches are all barer,
the linnet's song is rarer
the robin pipeth snow.

I am going back to my reading. I will leave this one last poem from Come Hither, by Rudyard Kipling. It reminds me of the traces of old roads I see so often on my journeys and even a few trails here on our farm where wagons used to travel before the roads were defined as they are today. It also reminds me of my own poem, The Old Road, which is very similar, and it tickles me to find that Kipling and I shared the same fascination with the almost hidden tracks of past travelers.

The Way Through the Woods

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.   .   .   .
But there is no road through the woods.
I hope your evening is as lovely as mine has been.


Anonymous said...

I love that book "Come Hither!" I went to check it out of the library a couple of weeks ago and has GONE from their collection. I guess I gotta look for a copy of my own....

Kimberley King

Granny Sue said...

It's an older title as you know, Kimberley. Mine was a school library copy. Libraries struggle with this all the time--so much new stuff is printed and yet there are so many good classic titles that we want them to have too. What to keep and what to toss? A constant dilemma. Now with e-books it might be easier to keep hard copies on the shelves, but will they be used? It should be an interesting 10 years in the library world.

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