While researching Dr. Seuss the other day, I realized why this acacia tree on our street had so grabbed my attention back in November.
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman was one of my favorite books as a child; I was always surprised by the dog party at the end. [Click here for the image.]
During one of my landscape design classes, another student recalled a lecture by a famous landscape artist (I think it was Martha Schartz) who said that the garden we really want is the one that reflects the places we knew before the age of five. I don’t know how accurate her paraphrase was, but the idea is something to think about. And the landscapes of our early years will have to include those we saw night after night in storybooks.
And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are,” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.