April is the cruellest month

Look at this beautiful view!

March tree skiing with Craig

Two weekends ago, Craig (the snowboarder) met me at the mountain for a few Easter runs. We found still other friends and rode the gondola swapping stories and comments on the overcast sky.

The woods that day were certainly a happy surprise – untracked, empty, heavy with the best snowpack Vermont’s seen all season. After the first run, we were so hot and sweating that we both shed layers and got back out at it, our snowpant vents zipped open.

March is a funny month. Just as people gear up for spring, cabin fever driving them mad, winter delivers. Mid-week snow storms that make me dizzy with envy as I watch from work. Long days on the slopes with smaller crowds. Or even short romps – a few hours, a few runs to justify sitting in the parking lot with a beer and a portable grill.

Now, April. April plays tricks with hearts. Snowing one day, hot sun the next, rain yet another. Sometimes, two or three seasons in a single day. I think I agree with T.S. Eliot:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

But last weekend, riding to Massachusetts for my nephew’s baptism, I saw the earth and just the earth. If nothing else, April in Vermont rubs the world down to its body. It reveals the contours – the rolling hills, the glacial-worn cliffs, the geography – that all other seasons hide. And that’s a beautiful view, too.


Why Build Soil?

I'm not telling you, though.
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

Because of Robert Frost.

Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, Frost’s poems transported me to the fields and forests of Vermont – the Vermont of my summers by the lake and my winters in the mountains, and the imaginary Vermont where I swore I would someday live.

My first poem was Fire & Ice, memorized from the pages of my eldest brother’s diary. (Otherwise, it wasn’t very interesting. No offense, Drew… and… uh. Sorry for reading your diary.)

Much later, in college, I flipped through The Complete Works, drifting from poem to poem. When I was lonely or anxious, they were a source of comfort.

He writes for me, speaks to me in the silence & beauty of the North – in crumbling stone walls and bending birches.

Buil Soil: A Political Pastoral is not his best work. It’s rather long. It’s rather of boring. I have no intention of ever memorizing it. But it contains some of the most beautiful fragments in literature.