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Monday, May 7, 2012

Of Lilacs and Granite

        New Hampshire is the Granite State. If you ever drive around any road here, you can see why. Every hillside, in the woods, any lake, even in peoples front yards, they are all strewn with granite rocks and boulders. You will wonder why those first hardy, desperate settlers ever thought they could farm here. Take a walk through the woods and you will still find traces of them. Mostly all the miles and miles of stone walls. These walls are every where, marking out sections of land. Land that obviously was at one time farm land. Places for grazing animals, growing crops and orchards, marking off property lines. These walls have withstood the hands of time, still wandering through our lives , just as strong and silent and formidable as when they were first made.
           One wonders at the man hours that must have gone in to building them. I have never seen one that looks thrown together. They all look like works of art, each piece put on with care, just the right size for just the right spot. Who were these men and boys, who worked from dawn to dusk to make these lasting monuments?  Then, there is all the old parts and pieces of foundations every where. Hand dug cellar holes with granite walls crumbling in to themselves. Still around them you will find old roses growing, and daylillies, and daffodils, and lily of the valley. And you will find Lilacs. Huge, old lilac bushes, now taller than houses, branching out over the crumbling walls, filling the spring air with that sweet , heady fragrance. Lilacs don't flower very long each spring, only a couple weeks . But you can cut huge bouquets to bring inside, or you can just sleep with the windows open. The night breeze will waft that loveliness through the house, and the dew and the rain will concentrate it, and you will dream as you sleep of the faint scent of lilacs.
          Oh, the clear granite strewn brooks and rivers! You can always see to the bottom, you can see the little native brook trout darting along, and under shady half hidden boulders the big lunkers are hanging around, thinking they can't be seen. I have lain on the banks and hung my head over , and spotted the greenish, silvery glint of their fat sides in the sunshine. In the shallow places the cold clear water spills exhuberantly over the rocks, laughing to itself, swirling and foaming inviting you in on a hot bright day. Take off your shoes, then, and wade gingerly in, for it still has the iciness of snowy ridges and the tang of  granite mountain tops. It a glorious feeling to skim over the stones and get to the other side. Warm your  cold feet in the sun warmed grass, where the violets grow and the little toads hop.
         You will find old wild apple trees growing here and there. They still fling out their ethreal beauty every spring, the trunks are old and gnarly, and they branches scaly and scabby, but they blossom , and the bees are still there to love them, and some intrepid wanderer will still come by and wade through fallen petals, and the worms will live in the apples, and the forest animals will eat them, and they will still be there when we are gone. Who were these far seeing folks, who planted apple trees for the future?
         Memorial Day parades, we have them here, every town, little or big. The old soldiers and the boy scouts, and the band and the babies in strollers, they all march to the cemetery. Speeches are made, the Roll Call is read, a salute is fired, with all the mothers covering the babies ears, and small chhildren yelling, the bouquet of lilacs is thrown in the pond, to remember those lost at sea, and taps are played, and echoed through the woods. Afterward we drift through the old graves, so many flying our countrys flag. Carved granite, so weathered and worn we can't read them anymore,mossy and ancient, and starkley beautiful  in the spring sunshine. Who were they all, this large company of brave folks who did what they had to do? Oh, don't lets ever forget!
            All the granite steps on all the old houses. Have you noticed them? I have one. It's smooth and glossy, and the sun warms it all day, and at night it stays warm, a warmth that goes from your bare feet to your heart, and stays there, tying you to this place strewn with lilacs and granite.          

1 comment:

  1. the post is really interesting granite markers has make the slap so professionally and the color is nice