After a very long, cold, and white winter in the Dirty, the past weekend of blue skies and oh so close to balmy 50-degree weather has felt a sliver like the last day of school. Many of us, suffering to various degrees with S.A.D., have been wandering around quasi-zombielike for the past few weeks wondering if the sun would ever show his happy face again after an apocalyptic winter.
While taking a jaunt through Princeton’s campus this sunny afternoon, I smelled spring. Well, it actually smelled a lot more like winter but the point is that I smelled something other than cold air and snow. I’m not sure if they were buried under the snow until the melting but one section of campus was littered with downed pine branches. I’m assuming they cracked off under the weight of the cementy snow and ice during one of the recent storms. In any case, I smelled green things and that made me think of the poem “Inversnaid” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1899).
This dárksome búrn, hórseback brówn,
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
A wíndpuff-bónnett of fáwn-fróth
Turns and twindles over the broth
Of a póol so pitchblack, féll-frówning,
It rounds and rounds Despair to drowning.
Degged with dew, dappled with dew
Are the groins of the braes that the brook treads through,
Wiry heathpacks, flitches of fern,
and the beadbonny ash that sits over the burn.
What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.