Monday, July 23, 2007

Twelve Moons of the Year. December 02.

Significant sentences from The Twelve Moons of the Year by Hal Borland, a chronology of the New England seasons. December 02.

"...December, the counterpart of June, reminds us that elemental ice is the twin of fire." p. 343.

"And man, privileged to know the year whole and complete...." p. 343.

"White birch. Its bark provides a usable paper, tinder for fires in the wet woods, enough nourishment to save man or beast from starvation; and from it came the canoe, shaped and sheathed by the tough, enduring bark itself before man adapted cedar and canvas and, eventually aluminum, to the same purpose; wigwams were roofed with that bark, and buckets and boxes were made from it. In the springtime the rising sap of the white birch was boiled down, like maple sap, for a syrup and a sugar that sweetened the woodsman's diet and disposition. White grace of the birch. White beauty in a drab, gray world." p. 344.

"If snow comes wet and clinging, it accents the clean, simple structure of every tree." p. 345.

"Of all the winter birds the clown of the lot is the nuthatch. He doesn't know that a bird can't go down a tree trunk head-first. No variation, nothing approaching a melody: just 'yark,yark, yark,' always in the same key, always the same note. Not quarrelsome, or noisy or pilfering. A good neighbor, and welcome winter guest, and he eats his full share of noxious bugs the year round." p. 346.

"For the pines and their whole family were old when the first man saw them, millions of years old...even at a time when millions of years had no meaning." p. 347.

"...we are reaching for reassurance, for the beauty of the living green but also for that green itself, the green of life that outlasts the gray winds, the white frosts and the glittering snow of winter." p. 347.

"The pine, the spruce, the hemlock, the fir--all those conifers that know no leafless season--have been held in special favor when man would have symbols of life that outlast all winters." p. 347.

"In our latitude we know that every year brings this time when not only the candle but the fire on the hearth, figurative if not literal, must burn at each end of the day." p. 348.

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