The Solitary Reaper
By William Wordsworth
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Monday morning while I was posting photos from 15 years ago having a glorious afternoon in Durham, my governor finally issued stay-at-home orders to stop surging coronavirus cases. We're not entirely clear what this will mean in terms of local parks and neighborhoods -- no one wants a repeat of the mob scene at the DC cherry blossoms last week, except all the idiots who went down to the cherry blossoms and might try to do the same at various pretty parks -- but since county parks are blocking off paths that lead to play equipment and even our neighborhood has put police tape around the tot lots, we figured we had better go walk along the C&O Canal while it remained open, so although exercise at a safe distance is considered a legitimate reason to be outside and we've been very careful where and while we're hiking, here are what may be the last spring photos I can take outside my own neighborhood:
As you can see, it was a gorgeous afternoon, nearly 70 degrees but breezy, and we saw several frogs, turtles, squirrels, ducks, and flowers including daffodils, redbuds, violets, and thousands of bluebells. We also saw a big tree that had fallen across the towpath that wasn't there three days ago, which someone had cut so bikes could get past it, but we saw few bikes and even fewer runners, though there were a couple of families with kids in strollers (and a couple of assholes who apparently believe social distancing means it's okay to let their dogs off leash). We had leftover stew (from a mix son had given us) for dinner, then we watched two episodes of Antiques Roadshow and James Corden's Late Late Show homefest concert. Now we're watching Colbert and for the first time ever I actually miss Jimmy Fallon -- will have to catch up on his house and his kids tomorrow. I'm trying to stay positive or at least distracted.