NEWS FROM THE HILLS

Alyce Faye BraggLINES WRITTEN IN EARLY SPRING

By William Wordsworth

 

I heard a thousand blended notes,

While in a grove I sate reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

 

To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran;

And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man.

 

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,

The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;

And ‘tis my faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes.

 

The birds around me hopped and played,

Their thoughts I cannot measure:–

But the least motion which they made

It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

 

The budding leaves spread out their fan,

To catch the breezy air;

And I must think, do all I can,

That there was pleasure there.

 

If this belief from heaven be sent,

If such be Nature’s holy plan,

Have I not reason to lament

What man has made of man?

 

When God created the earth, it was perfect. He looked around and pronounced that it was “very good.” Yet today, the animal and plant world obeys the nature that God gave them, the seasons come and go as God ordained, and everything revolves around the plan God made. Everything except man. What a wonderful world it would be if mankind were as obedient.

The seasons are changing once more, as winter is getting ready to depart from the hills and let spring enter. There are many signs that foretell of her coming; signs that we eagerly look for and welcome.

We were awakened by birdsong this morning, different calls from exuberant throats that blended together in one harmonious chorus. Red-breasted robins were scouting the lawn, looking for an unwary earthworm for breakfast. When a large flock of them appear all at once, we know that spring is very near.

After the snow melted, there were brave tulip buds coming up through the dirt in the flower bed. The Easter flowers have put forth their yellow buds, ready to burst into bloom. Tiny purple, yellow and blue crocuses lift their cup-like blossoms to the sun. It is amazing what changes a few days of sunshine makes.

We will have the snowy, blowy winds of March—but spring is on the way. It is truly a miracle that the hills which were so recently encased in ice and snow can come alive again.

Criss is plowing the garden, turning over the earth in long rows to mellow and rest in the March wind. Someone told me recently that it is good to plow when there is snow on the ground, as it puts nitrogen back in the soil. On St. Patrick’s Day there are farmers who will plant their potatoes—rain, snow or shine.

We wait until the ground gets warm, usually in mid-April. It is a temptation to start a garden when the first warm days come, but too many times a late May frost will kill most everything. Our old neighbor, Liddie Coon, always told us to wait until the soil was really warm to plant, and it would come up just as fast.

We are anxious to start looking for morel mushrooms, or Molly Moochers, but it is a little early. Patty and Bob have found them in March when the snow was swirling around them. I like to wait until the days are warm and sunny, and the woods are scented with the perfume of spring.

There is always something good to look forward to in the spring, and the lowly ramp is one of them. After enduring the harsh winter, the hills are redeemed in the springtime.

My sister Mary Ellen called my hand about the Grandpa Green and the Bear story. She says that he didn’t winter in the bear’s cave but in a hollow log. Now I take that with a grain of salt. I asked her what he ate, and she said “bugs and worms.” I don’t think anyone could survive a long, cold winter on a diet of bugs. Anyway, I like my version better.

Your memory can play tricks though, and maybe Daddy did say he lived in a hollow log. I remember writing about my memory of Grandpa Hooge’s grandfather clock at one time. In my mind, I could see it sitting on the floor, tall and stately. Mom told me afterward that it was a clock that sat on a mantel. It did strike the hours though.

Mary Alice Carpenter of Dunbar wrote awhile back and asked me who the little boy was on the front cover of my latest book “Laughter from the Hills.” He is Garon Thompson, my great-grandson (Patty’s grandson.) He is the youngest of my great-grandsons.

Here is the grandchild tale of the week. My granddaughter, Jessica, is expecting a baby girl in a couple of weeks. She has an older child, Gabriel, who is four years old. For a long time she has been preparing him for his baby sister, telling him how he will be a big brother and help take care of her.

He was excited, and anxiously waiting for her appearance. They were in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, and Gabriel was getting tired and sleepy. She said he wasn’t misbehaving, but was restless and squirming around. An older lady was watching them, and then asked Jess, “And you’re having ANOTHER one? Jessica told her yes; they were expecting a little girl.

The lady then turned to Gabriel and told him, “Oh, you are going to have to change dirty diapers and everything!” He didn’t say a word, but climbed up on Jessica’s lap (what she had left) and whispered in her ear, “Mommy, is it too late to change my mind?”

The songbirds are twittering sleepily at twilight, Andy’s baby calves that gamboled in the meadow today are snuggled in the barn with their mothers, and there is another mild spring day forecast for tomorrow. Life is good in the hills.

Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published.

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer