Warble for Lilac-Time
By Walt Whitman
Warble me now, for joy of Lilac-time,
Sort me, O tongue and lips, for Nature's sake, and sweet life's sake—and death's the same as life's,
Souvenirs of earliest summer—birds' eggs, and the first berries;
Gather the welcome signs, (as children, with pebbles, or stringing shells;)
Put in April and May—the hylas croaking in the ponds—the elastic air,
Bees, butterflies, the sparrow with its simple notes,
Blue-bird, and darting swallow—nor forget the high-hole flashing his golden wings,
The tranquil sunny haze, the clinging smoke, the vapor,
Spiritual, airy insects, humming on gossamer wings,
Shimmer of waters, with fish in them—the cerulean above;
All that is jocund and sparkling—the brooks running,
The maple woods, the crisp February days, and the sugar-making;
The robin, where he hops, bright-eyed, brown-breasted,
With musical clear call at sunrise, and again at sunset,
Or flitting among the trees of the apple-orchard, building the nest of his mate;
The melted snow of March—the willow sending forth its yellow-green sprouts;
—For spring-time is here! the summer is here! and what is this in it and from it?
Thou, Soul, unloosen'd—the restlessness after I know not what;
Come! let us lag here no longer—let us be up and away!
O for another world! O if one could but fly like a bird!
O to escape—to sail forth, as in a ship!
To glide with thee, O Soul, o'er all, in all, as a ship o'er the waters!
—Gathering these hints, these preludes—the blue sky, the grass, the morning drops of dew;
(With additional songs—every spring will I now strike up additional songs,
Nor ever again forget, these tender days, the chants of Death as well as Life;)
The lilac-scent, the bushes, and the dark green, heart-shaped leaves,
Wood violets, the little delicate pale blossoms called innocence,
Samples and sorts not for themselves alone, but for their atmosphere,
To tally, drench'd with them, tested by them,
Cities and artificial life, and all their sights and scenes,
My mind henceforth, and all its meditations—my recitatives,
My land, my age, my race, for once to serve in songs,
(Sprouts, tokens ever of death indeed the same as life,)
To grace the bush I love—to sing with the birds,
A warble for joy of Lilac-time.
On Saturday we got up and went to Claude Moore Colonial Farm for the summer Colonial Market Fair, which the farm hosts three times a year, though we've always gone in the spring before. We missed the sheep-shearing this May and there are two-week-old piglets currently at the farm, children of April the Ossabaw Island hog, so we wanted to get there for this one. It was extremely hot in the sun, but the market area is shaded and there are lots of tents with vendors selling 18th century clothing, handmade soap, wool, pottery, stationery, inkwells, cutlery, toys, jewelry, and other items that would have been available in Virginia in the 1700s. There are also craftspeople on the site, including carpenters, joiners, weavers, basket-makers, bookbinders, and a blacksmith, plus people cooking chickens over an open fire and corn in cauldrons, squeezing lemonade, slicing cheese, and pouring beer. The farm itself has sheep, geese, and several other animals in addition to the pigs; both the corn and tobacco crops seem to be coming along nicely this summer. We had locally-grown corn and cheese sandwiches for lunch with excellent mustard, plus lemonade and root beer because it was very, very warm.
While visiting the Market Fair, we got to watch the blacksmith at work...
...and the potter...
...and several people weaving baskets.
There are also puppet shows for kids...
...and live music, plus occasional dancing, for all ages.
The bookseller also sells reproductions of old illustrations and prints that can be painted or embellished (right after purchase if one wishes).
And the farm has resident animals that we always love seeing on the way to the fair.
We were going to drive across DC to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in the afternoon for the Water Lily Lotus Festival, but today was the day the District was patching potholes on 295 and after sitting in traffic for an hour in the above-90-degree heat, we turned around and came home, where we had leftover saag tofu and ratatouille for dinner and watched Doctor Who on BBC America -- we'd seen the episodes before but I am betting Comcast keeps track of which households are tuned to which cable channels and I want to make sure they know people are watching the channel and the series. River Song remains my favorite character in the franchise at present -- it's a real shame that we know the end of her story, though I suppose time can be rewritten even though she told the Tenth Doctor not to because Eleven's writers won't necessarily listen, because I want her around forever playing Cleopatra and space trader and prison-breaker. ("You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe!" "You wouldn't answer your phone!") Plus I love that she hates good wizards in fairy tales because they always turn out to be the Doctor. Even if he does believe in miracles and impossible things before breakfast.