Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Light takes the tree, but who can tell us how?

One of my all-time favorite lines, from Theodore Roethke's villanelle   "The Waking"

It’s 5:13PM on Wednesday, November 21. The darkness will continue to grow for another month, until the Winter Solstice of December 21.

I love this time of the day in the late fall, love to have the time to sit by the window and watch the sky wash out from blue to pink to peach, to see the darkness grow. I love to watch the tree branches become silhouettes, and then disappear into the night.  I especially love the twilights when the sky is aflame with sunset.

One of the places I lived was a house on Alto Road in Baltimore, right on the edge of the city, on the edge of Leakin Park, in a very hilly neighborhood of hundred year old houses, including ours.  I loved my room there, on the corner with a window facing west and another two facing north. A great old red oak tree grew right at the edge of the porch roof by that north facing window.  The west facing window had a view of a crowd of younger trees, among them a tall and skinny maple.  So often I was treated to that flaming sunset sky on these November evenings.  The world outside the house was redolent with the smell of trees and leafmold, a high cold forest smell.  

The world outside my window here has some of that smell, but not quite the same.  I smell autumn earth and leaves, but more of a cold country air. It is the smell I always associate with Emmitsburg, with the days of my youth when I was a girl in college here, walking in this evening delight, smelling this earth smell.  Very different from the smell of suburban West Chester… partly because I wasn’t out walking in the dark very much when I lived in West Chester. Partly because I just didn’t notice the world the way I did when I came to Emmitsburg.

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