By Richard Wilbur
Out of the snowdrift
Which covered it, this pillared
Sundial starts to lift,
Able now at last
To let its frozen hours
Melt into the past
In bright, ticking drops.
Time so often hastens by,
Time so often stops—
Still, it strains belief
How an instant can dilate,
Or long years be brief.
Dreams, which interweave
All our times and tenses, are
What we can believe:
Dark they are, yet plain,
Coming to us now as if
Through a cobwebbed pane
Where, before our eyes,
All the living and the dead
Meet without surprise.
From the latest New Yorker -- this is possibly my favorite Wilbur poem, all the more so for its references to Delmore Schwartz, Matthew Arnold, James Joyce, and the Bible.
My day did not much go according to plan, which was true for nearly everyone in Montgomery County not already on vacation. A water main burst along River Road, causing flooding in the immediate vicinity that looked incredibly scary for people trapped in their cars, and that caused so many schools to lose water, power, or both that the county decided to close for the holidays two and a half hours early. I was afraid to shower in the morning because the county emergency e-mails suggested that both the water pressure and quality might be questionable, though they turned out to be fine where I live, which is about three miles from the water main break. Then I had my kids and their friends here for a longer afternoon than I expected!
James Gambrill was a wealthy miller and some of the original mantels and ceiling fixtures remain in the house.
Here is one of the house's fireplaces decorated for the season.
Wheat and fruit decorate this fireplace, possibly symbols of the farm at Monocacy.
The fan is not original to the house, which Gambrill called Edgewood, but the decoration from which it is suspended is believed to be.
The views from the porch of the battlefield and woods nearby are spectacular.
Now the Second-Empire style house serves as headquarters for the National Park Service's Historic Preservation Training Center, which teaches the arts and crafts involved in historic preservation.
The modern offices upstairs have wonderful views of the surrounding parkland.
We spent the evening watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the real one, not the Jim Carrey remake), then Blackadder's Christmas Carol -- we've all seen the former many times before and most of us had seen the latter once before, but with Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Miranda Richardson, Robbie Coltrane and more, what's not to enjoy? Plus we watched part of the Poinsettia Bowl, which Boise State lost to one of those Texas teams...you can see how much attention I paid. In the morning (or the early afternoon, depending on the weather), we are driving to Hanover for a couple of days of Christmas with my in-laws...hope everyone is having a happy Chanukah, meanwhile!