A "freshet" is a spring stream of freshly melted snow or fallen rain that makes its way into the valleys and toward the sea. I first ran Henry David Thoreau's "Freshet" in this space on Easter Sunday, 2008. It was March 23rd, a date referenced in the poem, and it was also my sixtieth birthday.
And, as a couple of close friends from my college years have reminded me via email this morning, today is once again my birthday - this time number sixty-seven. I came into this world in 1948 - during the Truman administration - and will probably exit during the Taylor Swift presidency!
March of 1948 also saw the birth of some fine musicians - though sadly the only musical talent I managed to develop is whistling. James Taylor beat me to the party by eleven days, being born on March 12, 1948, and I arrived three days ahead of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler who was born on March 26th of the same year. Happy birthday, guys! Fortunately, all of us are still much younger than Mick Jagger!
(James Taylor was probably a sweet baby, but I suspect that little Stevie Tyler wailed until he was hoarse!)
But I digress.
Here is the beautiful poem that the bard of Walden Pond penned on March 23rd many, many years ago.
by Henry David Thoreau
Tis now the twenty-third of March,
And this warm sun takes out the starch
Of winter's pinafore - Methinks
The very pasture gladly drinks
A health to spring, and while it sips
It faintly smacks a myriad lips.
A stir is on the Wooster hills,
And Nobscot too the valley fills,
Where scarce you'd dip an acorn cup,
In summer when the sun is up,
Now you'll find no cup at all,
But in its place a waterfall.
The river swelleth more and more,
Like some sweet influence stealing o'er
The passive town; and for a while
Each tussock makes a tiny isle,
Where on some friendly Ararat
Resteth the weary water rat.
Our village shows a rural Venice,
Its broad lagoons where yonder fen is;
Far lovlier that the bay of Naples,
That placid cove amid the maples;
And in my neighbor's field of corn
I recognise the Golden Horn.
Here nature taught from year to year,
When only red men came to hear.
Methinks 'twas in this school of art
Venice and Naples learned their part,
But still their mistress, to my mind,
Her young disciples leaves behind.