Fragrant Quote for December 23rd, 2012-The Coming of Winter By Walter Prichard Eaton

Wintertime in Bavaria


I LIKE the coming of Winter, nor can I easily read into it the symbols of sadness which the poets find.

Ah, minstrel, how strange is
The carol you sing!
Let Psyche who ranges
The gardens of Spring
Remember the changes
December will bring!

Yet Psyche was of immortal stuff, and might easily have
comforted herself with Shelley's reflection, "If Winter
comes, can Spring be far behind?" The seasons wax
and wane, each with its own peculiar charm, and the last
rose of Summer is, after all, but the promise of a larger
bush next year, rather than the sad reminder of man's
mortality. We may be permitted some sober moments,
some lingering melancholy, when we walk in the garden
and see the sweet alyssum borders withered down, the
Japanese anemones cut off in their perfection by the
frost, the leaves of the poplars by the pool blowing
across the sward or floating on the dark water. But
even then we remember that the potatoes are dug and
stowed away in the cellar, and from the orchard comes the pungent fragrance of apples; and lifting our eyes to the hills, we see the banners of Autumn already flying on their wooded slopes.
The garden dies down for its winter sleep, the harvest is reaped, and the season slips into that indefinite stage between autumn glory and winter snow, when a blue haze hangs in the leafless trees, the chill winds of November blow, and there is ice on the little water pools of a morning. It is in this season, this hush of Nature before the winter storms, that Thanksgiving comes, our most characteristic and best-loved American holiday. Surely there is no melancholy in Thanksgiving, though there may be just a touch of soberness as we think back to those grim days when the Pilgrims reaped their first scanty harvest between the sea beach and the forest edge, and thanked God for the mere gift of life. The last warmth of Indian Summer has gone from the air, the last golden leaves have dropped from the maples, the smell of bonfires is no longer pungent; yet every country-bred American, I fancy, knows what I mean when I say that the Thanksgiving season has a peculiar, a unique charm.