Sunday, January 06, 2013

Poem for Sunday and Mason Neck Park

Song of Nature
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mine are the night and morning,
The pits of air, the gulf of space,
The sportive sun, the gibbous moon,
The innumerable days.

I hid in the solar glory,
I am dumb in the pealing song,
I rest on the pitch of the torrent,
In slumber I am strong.

No numbers have counted my tallies,
No tribes my house can fill,
I sit by the shining Fount of Life,
And pour the deluge still;

And ever by delicate powers
Gathering along the centuries
From race on race the rarest flowers,
My wreath shall nothing miss.

And many a thousand summers
My apples ripened well,
And light from meliorating stars
With firmer glory fell.

I wrote the past in characters
Of rock and fire the scroll,
The building in the coral sea,
The planting of the coal.

And thefts from satellites and rings
And broken stars I drew,
And out of spent and aged things
I formed the world anew;

What time the gods kept carnival,
Tricked out in star and flower,
And in cramp elf and saurian forms
They swathed their too much power.

Time and Thought were my surveyors,
They laid their courses well,
They boiled the sea, and baked the layers
Or granite, marl, and shell.

But he, the man-child glorious,--
Where tarries he the while?
The rainbow shines his harbinger,
The sunset gleams his smile.

My boreal lights leap upward,
Forthright my planets roll,
And still the man-child is not born,
The summit of the whole.

Must time and tide forever run?
Will never my winds go sleep in the west?
Will never my wheels which whirl the sun
And satellites have rest?

Too much of donning and doffing,
Too slow the rainbow fades,
I weary of my robe of snow,
My leaves and my cascades;

I tire of globes and races,
Too long the game is played;
What without him is summer's pomp,
Or winter's frozen shade?

I travail in pain for him,
My creatures travail and wait;
His couriers come by squadrons,
He comes not to the gate.

Twice I have moulded an image,
And thrice outstretched my hand,
Made one of day, and one of night,
And one of the salt sea-sand.

One in a Judaean manger,
And one by Avon stream,
One over against the mouths of Nile,
And one in the Academe.

I moulded kings and saviours,
And bards o'er kings to rule;--
But fell the starry influence short,
The cup was never full.

Yet whirl the glowing wheels once more,
And mix the bowl again;
Seethe, fate! the ancient elements,
Heat, cold, wet, dry, and peace, and pain.

Let war and trade and creeds and song
Blend, ripen race on race,
The sunburnt world a man shall breed
Of all the zones, and countless days.

No ray is dimmed, no atom worn,
My oldest force is good as new,
And the fresh rose on yonder thorn
Gives back the bending heavens in dew.


Daniel spent most of the day at his high school for the FIRST robotics competition launch for the year (apparently an ultimate frisbee game with robots). The rest of us went to Mason Neck Park, which is famous for having several pairs of bald eagles nesting near the bay where the Occoquan River meets the Potomac. We saw the eagles, plus many other birds, a beaver dam, and the huge Asian snails that have invaded the river there. (It was pretty overcast and the eagles were pretty far away, so I have no great photos, sorry!)

Bald Eagles

Beaver Dam

Eastern Bluebird

Gray Squirrel

Asian Snail

Great Blue Heron

I believe this is a variety of sparrow but I don't know which.

Mallards, coots, and cormorants were all swimming in the water.

We drove to Silver Spring from the park to pick up Daniel, then came home for dinner and watched the end of the Texans-Bengals game, then the start of the Packers-Vikings game. Since it looked like Green Bay was going to trounce Minnesota, we put on L.A. Confidential, which remains as good as ever -- there is no way a film with Crowe, Pearce, Spacey, et al could not be, though I try not to watch when people are getting shot, beaten, or suffocated. I love Lynn's take on White and Exley.

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