This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Ths Woods AprU 14, 1854. The spring, bo long and so anxiously looked for, comes on apace. Already the snow is melted from the southern slopes of the hills, and the grass looks fresh and green by the side of the rivulets that flow down in the valley. The Willows by the old stone bridge - where meet the brooks, known in my younger dap as the "Great" and the "Little," - shed a sweet fragrance upon the air, and the Birch and Maple buds are swelling upon the trees in the open pastures and through earth, and sea, and sky; and dwells now, if it doea not at all times, in the face and heart of man. From my chamber window I look out upon the warm blue sky and the dim old mountains that skirt the horizon, and bless Good, who made "the country".
It is well that there yet remain some portions of our country which are not swallowed up by the all-absorbing "town." I am thankful for the privilege of viewing God's works, unimproved by the hand of man. Those patches of woods, that stand out here and there upon the landscape, - those groves, so beautiful because so natural, - I prize as the miser prizes his gold. Busticus would cut them down, and sow wheat where they stand: but my "no" is emphatic; and my groves will still cool the air, and afford me shelter from the scorching sun of summer.
My bees, awakened by the genial warmth, are flitting around the hives; but many of them who come forth I fear may never return. How gladly must they hail the approach of more pleasant weather! - how delighted to know that the reign of the Ice-king is broken, and that the Queen of the flowers will soon scatter her blessings over all the broad fields of our quiet domain.
Towser, my highly-prized Newfoundland, enjoys the sun amazingly. He lies stretched out at full length on the sunny side, half-asleep and half-awake, a perfect picture of content; and the cackle of my Cochin Chinas in the yard, and the songs of the robins in the trees, alone break the stillness which hangs around my "box in the woods." Z.
April 18, 1854.
A robin is busily engaged in building her nest on the cap of my window, and she sings merrily as her work progresses. Doubtless she is as happy as we mortals are while building our houses, in which we hope to pass in quietness the declining days of life. "With what care she selects the sticks of which the outside of her nest is composed; and how much taste she displays in bringing together the feathers, hairs, and soft pieces of bark, which form the inner lining of the nest I wake, long before the dawn, to listen to her joyous song; and regret that man may not be as happy as are, apparently, many of Cod's creatures, who are less gifted.
The red buds of the Paeony are pressing up among the dead stalks of a past year's growth. Strange, that the few brief glimpses of the warm sun should so soon have called them forth. I see they are increasing in size day by day; and, as I cut down the old stalks, I am astonished at the great number of shoots which are springing up.
Birds love music As I sat under a tree in front of the house, this morning, I took my flute and commenced playing a lively air. I noticed a couple of robins on a tree a few rods distant, who, as I continued playing, flew to the ground, and hopped along, stopping occasionally to listen, till they got within a few feet of me; and there they stood, turning one side of their heads toward me, and then the other, till I put up my instrument, when they flew away.
Spring is the most poetical of all seasons. What can be more beautiful than the following lines, by the poet of Nature, Thompson?
" Mote, bright, and green, the landscape laughs around. Full swell the woods; their every music wakes, Mix'd in wild concert with the babbling brooks Increased, the distant Meetings of the hills, And hollow lows responsive from the vales, Whence blending all the sweeten'd zephyr springs. Meantime, refracted from yon eastern cloud, Bestriding earth, the grand etherlal bow Shoots up immense. * * * * Then spring the living herbs, profusely wild, O'er all the deep green earth, beyond the power Of botanist to number up their tribes; Whether he steals along the lonely dale, In silent search; or through the forest, rank With what the dull Incurious weeds account, Bursts his blind way".