Sunday, April 29, 2012

Climbing trees is beautiful

I've never been a big reader of Robert Frost, but wholly cow am I in love with "Birches".

The first part that I particularly latched onto was "[b]ut swinging doesn't bend them down to stay / As ice-storms do". Any kind of allusion to New England weather will always be a hook for me. Ice storms are also completely ordinary to those of us who live in New England-- they happen all the time. However, the way ice and snow looks outside is something (even for those of us who aren't the biggest fans of winter itself or have seen a thousand ice storms) that never ceases to be stunningly beautiful.

"So was I once myself a swinger of birches. / And so I dream of going back to be. / It's when I'm weary of considerations, / And life is too much like a pathless wood".

I particularly liked this line because it highlights the comfort of something ordinary and familiar. Any time life gets hard or complicated or simply too strange, I think most people find solace in ordinary things or behaviors. Not only is climbing or swinging on birches a familiar thing in Frost's poem, but it is something done during childhood. Nothing is more familiar than the simple things you do as a child and much like we return to ordinary things when feeling lost, we also return to things felt in childhood because they tend to be simpler.

1 comment:

  1. I can't agree more with your love for this poem, and the reasons behind it. The moment I read those first few lines all I could see was tree after tree covered in shining ice, snow sticking to branches and bending them over as the sun sparkled off of the world below. In Maine, there is nothing more ordinary in winter than a nice ice storm, and yet, don't we always treat them as such rare things, by making special preparations for them when we think one is coming?