Fragrant Quote for December 18th, 2012- Fragrances of the Forest By Charles Goodrich Whiting




Winter
Out in the open fields, by the roadsides and over the highways the maples have filled the common earth with cloth of gold,—a more truly precious gold than that of the commercial medium over which nations fight and men surrender their immortal lives. What words can express the glory of looking up into the royal branches of a sugar maple, catching its golden glow in the reflected light of the leaves which have ripened and fallen! Indeed, what are words to interpret such magnificence of growth and such splendour of bloom? We can but be quiet, and admire and worship.
The persistence and readiness of life is seen in a thousand ways, as we note the way that the small herbs are forming their foot leaves in rich rosets on the ground; the five-finger, the evening primrose, the robin's plantain, the saxifrage, the various asters, the mullein. One never mentions the grasses and the rushes, the flags and the sedges, which are expected and sure,—yet are these not the perennial evidences of continuing impulse and vigour? Note, too, how the plants flower anew under the encouragement of the rains and warm suns,—how the bygone asters and golden-rods and mayweeds start forth with new flowers and even groups of flowers. One may find now pretty nooks in the pastures where there are many dandelions in bloom—dandelions which arise from the seed plants of the spring. The branching yellow violet and the branching white are now occasionally found, and the common blue hooded violet of the meadows. Black-eyed Susan and ox-eye daisy start forth frankly upon the autumn air, sure that they are wanted. The wreath golden-rod is quite a common adornment of the forest paths. Rarely there is a fringed gentian,—very rarely.
And the fragrances of the forest,—that general woodsy scent which fills all their aisles, the rich bouquet of the fox grapes, the peculiar evanescence of the witch hazel, the balsamic odours of pine and hemlock—these add so much to the charm of the earth, far from the purlieus of men. With these belong the slight, subdued, musical whispers of the mountain sparrow; some stray warblers not yet able to fling themselves away from the charm of our woods; the juncos and the cheery chickadees; and over the wide landscape the crow's sagacious observations.