Two Tramps in Mud Time

This is a verse from Robert Frost’s Two Tramps in Mud Time

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

Published in 1934, these sentiments seem just as true today.  Although Frost was an American, there is a timeless quality about the way that they describe the fickleness of an English Spring: changeable from day to day, and hour by hour.  As I write this, I’m thinking back to a recent, brilliantly blue afternoon: the sun was warm on the face, but then the temperature fell and hail drove us rapidly indoors.  No wonder gardeners are often uncertain about when to plant and sow.   But that’s the challenge, of course: to outwit nature and what she blows our way by knowledge, cunning and guile.  Looking round the village, there are a lot of us who try to do just that.  It’s a never-ending task that’s always different with success never guaranteed, but that’s part of its allure, joy and fulfilment.  It’s time to be outside again …

May 2011

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