By Dave Coulter
One of the books I checked out of the library over the weekend was a collection of poetry by Robert Frost. I have a couple of books of his more popular poems at home - this was one of those mega-books that seems to have everything he ever wrote. I wonder now if maybe this simply has to do with his last name - the word frost working in advertisement like lemonade will next June. Nevertheless, when autumn arrives I find myself going back to his work. This time I was scanning this larger edition looking for something seasonal that I was unfamiliar with.
And hasn’t this been an unfamiliarly and uncommonly fine season? Here we are, two-thirds of November in the books and I’ve only scraped ice off my windshield three times. I’m pretty sure we will pay dearly for this lovely weather so I’m thankful for each day sans sleet.
Yesterday I received a holiday card from a firm I work with expressed their Thanksgiving wishes. It was one of those cards where the people that work there had all signed it- but it was preprinted. I looked for the name of my contact there - which was not to be found. Fearing that he’d been jettisoned in these uncertain times I was quite thankful to learn that yes, he was still among the working.
And this is the sweet season for us in those outdoorsy lines of work. The busy time of the year is past, and the holidays are just visible on the horizon. The authentically dreadful weather hasn’t yet arrived so coveralls and boots are still safely tucked away. And I was thankful indeed to spend a recent morning chit-chatting with colleagues I’ve known and worked with for decades. Decades....imagine that!
In my travels to today I saw even bigger flocks of birds ganging up. I estimate that I easily saw a thousand Canada geese picking through corn stubble in West Chicago. Were they planning their flight south? Or, like the two dozen pigeons lined up tight on the nearby phone wires were they seeking warmth? I imagined both the goose and the squab were thankful not to be on my dinner plate.
But back to Frost, and my search for something new. For years his poem My November Guest was the ideal descriptor of this transitional month. But I have a new contender for my autumnal seasonal favorite Frost poem - Clear and Colder - which first appeared in his book A Further Range. I may never be able to decide which of these (or another, such as Nothing Gold Can Stay) I like better. But I don’t have decide today, or tomorrow, and for that I am very, very grateful indeed.