Gone Into the Fields

March 6, 2012

“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs-
To the silent wilderness
Where the soul need not repress
Its music lest it should not find
An echo in another’s mind,
While the touch of Nature’s art
Harmonizes heart to heart.
I leave this notice on my door
For each accustom’d visitor:-
‘I am gone into the fields
To take what this sweet hour yields.'”

Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “The Invitation”

Plowed fields under a dusting of snow

I’ve just returned from a week’s trip to Minnesota to stay with my 93-year-old Dad on the family farm.  It’s been an unseasonally dry and almost snow-less winter in Minnesota, but a storm passed through during my stay.  The farm was on the south fringes of the storm front, and we got just a small amount of snow, some rain, and sleet.  My sister, who lives in northern Minnesota, got 10-inches of snowfall in one day!

The farm is quiet in winter.  I enjoyed my solitary walks through the woods and fields.  Like Shelley, I kept my eyes open to what the Minnesota winter yielded.

Water after it has passed through the culverts under our driveway

Thin ice

My brother raises elk; this is his bull elk (looks like it has a third antler!).

Empty nest

Animal tracks in the snow . . . raccoon?

Dried leaf

 

 

My brother found this paper wasp nest in the woods.

Wasp nest displayed among the birdhouses

A look inside another wasp nest

The Paper Nautilus
by Marianne Moore

For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters’ comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.

Giving her perishable
souvenir of hope, a dull
white outside and smooth-
edged inner surface
glossy as the sea, the watchful
maker of it guards it
day and night; she scarcely

eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight
arms, for she is in
a sense a devil-
fish, her glass ram’shorn-cradled freight
is hid but is not crushed;
as Hercules, bitten

by a crab loyal to the hydra,
was hindered to succeed,
the intensively
watched eggs coming from
the shell free it when they are freed,–
leaving its wasp-nest flaw
of white on white, and close-

laid Ionic chiton-fold
like the lines in the mane of
a Parthenon horse,
round which the arms had
wound themselves as if they new love
is the only fortress
strong enough to trust to.