Saluting The Field

We've seen it all before, the changing colors, the falling leaves. And yet, and yet.

I walk around the pond with cat and dog, thinking of James Schuyler's great field poem, "Salute," which ends with the lines: "Past/is past. I salute/that various field."

Which evokes Frank O'Hara's line, "Grace to be born and live as variously as possible." (These words are inscribed on O'Hara's gravestone, which I once had the honor of meeting in person.)

A field does live as variously as possible. Here, its variosity is of aster (several kinds); (red & white) clover; heather-like purple fists that seem to drive the bees wild; a spectrum of goldenrod, and cornflower, black-eyed susans, coreopsis, plus some intense purple flowers I cannot find a name for.

So many plant-inhabitants whose names I'm just learning: tear-thumb and smartweed, a wild mint I just call "mountain mint" for simplicity's sake. So many more names to learn or not. And beyond the names, the important unknown stories of plants and animals.

To this various field is now added a jumbled corridor of fallen leaves—ash and sumac, apple, pear (remnants of old orchard), hawthorne, and no-longer-whispering aspen. Perfectly placed in their disorder, like thoughts overturning their ancestors.The colors have been described a million times before—we know that story all too well. It escorts us to the threshold of cliche and right on through its frosted-glass door. Auburn. Magenta. Burnt umber. But color-words get in the way of it, can't begin to reach the thing itself, which originates way up high in the trees. An arboreal collaboration of sugar, wind, cold, and light. Trees, changing their minds, acknowledging their time.

My fingers are stiff trying to capture it on the page (tear-thumb?). I wish you could see it!


KC said...

mmmm. wish I could see it, too! first full autumn for the pond!k

Anonymous said...

city anxiety soothed with virtual photos of lovely nature