And the spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the spirit of love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest
God made the flowers to beautify the earth,
And cheer man's charefull mood;
And he is happiest who hath power
To gather wisdom from a flower
And wake his heart in every hour
To pleasant gratitude.
Such infinite variety appears,
A hundred artists in a hundred years
Could never copy from a floral world
The marvels that in leaf and bud lie curled.
|-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox|
These little dream-flowers found in Spring.
'Neath cloistered boughs,
each floral bell that swingeth
And tolls its perfume on the passing air,
Makes Sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth
A call to prayer.
But hark! I hear the pheasant's muffled drumming;
The water murmur from a distant dell;
A drowsy bee in mazy tangles humming;
The fair, faint tinkling tenor of a bell.
Then it is the stately partridge
Spreads his ruff and mounts his rostrum,
Gazes proudly round the thicket,
Sounds his strange and muffled signal.
First with slow and heavy measure,
Then like eager, hurried heart-beats,
Ending in a nervous flutter
Faster than the ear can reckon.
And the wide forest weaves,
To welcome back its playful mates again,
A canopy of leaves;
And from its darkening shadow floats
A gush of trembling notes.
"What are the voices of birds --
Ay, and of beats, -- but words, our words,
Only so much more sweet?"
"O bird that somewhere yonder sings,
In the dim hour 'twixt dreams and dawn,
Lone in the hush of sleeping things,
In some sky sanctuary withdrawn,
Voice of man's heart and of god's sky,
So in your liquid note impearled
Sings the long epic of the world.
And there is something the song saith
That makes me unafraid of death.
Then in that solemn hour I heard
A hymn that comes so sweet and clear;
So pure a tone, it seems to be
A bit of heaven's minstrelsy.
In our wild flower garden in the woods there is now blooming another fairy who came from the land beyond the rocky mountains. His name is Jack-in-the-Pulpit -- but he dwells not in our Cathedral, where first we planted him. He dwells not there now because we found him to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Why, the majority of his congregation consist of Gnats and tiny Flies -- and some of these do not escape from the pulpit. Really, one would not expect such a pious-looking creature, who is a cousin of the stately Calla Lily, to be capable of such cruelty. He is also a cousin of skunk cabbage.
April 8th -- Where the Fern fairies dwell in the wood there the Bleeding Hearts are blooming today. We children learned this verse about them:
In a gymnasium where things grow,
Jolly little boys and girls in a row,
Hanging down from cross-bar stem,
Builded purposely for them;
Stout little legs up in the air
Kick at the breeze as it passes there;
Dizzy heads in collars wide,
Look at the world from the underside;
Happy acrobats a-swing,
At the woodside show in early spring.
There's not a flower but shows some touch
In freckle, freck or stain,
Of His unrivalled pencil.
I hear the leaves drinking rain;
I hear the rich leaves on top
Giving the poor beneath
Drop by drop;
'Tis a sweet noise to hear,
These green leaves drinking near.
It touched the wood bird's folded wing,
And said, O bird, awake and sing.
In the days of spring migrations, days
when the warbler hosts move northward,
To the forests, to the leafbeds,
comes the tiny oven builder,
Daintily the leaves he tiptoes,
underneath them builds his oven,
Arched and paved with last year's oak leaves,
roofed and walled against the raindrops.
Hour by hour his voice he raises,
mingling with the red-eye's snatches,
Answering to the hermit's anthem;
rising -- falling, like a wind-breath;
Strange, ventriloqous his music,
far away when close beside one;
Near at hand when seeming distant;
weird -- his plaintive accrescendo.
Teach us! Teach us! Is his asking,
uttered to the Omnipresent;
Teach us! Teach us! Comes responsive
from the solemn, listening forest
With every day some splendors strange!
With every hour some subtle change!
Of our plain world, how could we guess
Such miracles of loveliness?
June 1st -- Aurora is lingering this week on our Oregon mountains. Pink near and pink afar the Rhododendrons blossom now. We walk among them and feel as we linger with them that the Master Artist has just passed this way and has given through these fairy flowers a message for each new day, a thought for many happy hours.
June 3rd -- In the woods met I today the fairy Eurymedon. And how was he dressed? In cream and black, with touches of blue and orange. And how did he travel? On wings, four wings, covered with scales, arranged in beautiful patterns. And where did he come from? From a tiny egg on a leaf of Cascara Sagrada. Then he grew, yes, he grew and he grew from a tiny caterpillar to a big one, as he ate and he ate and he ate of the leaves of the Cascara Sagrada. And then? Then he changed into a chrysalis, and inside this fairy cradle went on changing; and one day came out a fairy with wings Eurymedon of the Genus Papilio of the family of Hesperidae -- Eurymedon, a Swallowtail Butterfly.
June 5th -- Among the Saxifraga fairies on the mountain side at the edge of the great forest I found the Parnassian Butterflies, they whose upper wing edges are transparent. When a small child as I wandered among these fairies on the mountain side I loved to think as I watched them that the Spirit of Winter and the Spirit of Spring to the Children of Men a thought of their friendship to bring, together had made, and had given to the world, this fair wonderful thing with the snow, and the ice, and faint colors of fair blossoms upon its wing -- just that its existence might ever and eternally in silence sing, year after year, of a friendship so dear between the Spirits of Winter and Spring.
June 6th --It is in blossom -- this exquisite fairy of the woods, American Barrenwort -- cousin of Oregon Grape, Barberry, Twin-leaf and May Apple. We children like to call it by its other name, Vancouveria -- this name having been giving to it in memory of the English Navigator, Captain Vancouver. We like the sound of the name, and we truly think that, if Captain Vancouver were here his heart could not help but be glad that such a dear plant had been named for him.
June 9th --In the woods among the mosses I met twin fairies today where blooms of Northern Twin flower, cousin of Snowberry, Arrow-wood and Honeysuckle. These twin fairy flowers were named Linnaea for Linnaeus, the father of Botany.
Beneath dim aisles in odorous beds,
The slight Linnaea hangs its twin-born heads.