Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Worth The Wait

Climb the mountains and 
get their good tidings.
John Muir, Scottish American Naturalist
The World According to Bella
I just had to let you know my good news. I was not forgotten. Remember my stocking that was hung by the chimney with care? Well on Christmas morning it was filled with all sorts of good stuff. The best treat was a raw hide bone shaped like a wreath. It kept me busy gnawing for quite some time.
Love, Bella
Worth The Wait
One of the best things about the holiday season is receiving cards and letters from family, friends and acquaintances. I enjoy getting caught up with those whom I do not see or hear from too much over the past year. The challenge lies in getting out our cards/letters in a timely manner when we get busy during December. But for those who might be holiday procrastinators getting their cards mailed, I recently read that the legendary poet, Robert Frost, once waited till July to get his Christmas cards in the mail. But Frost's cards were well worth the wait. They were quite the coveted item no matter how long it took to reach one's mailbox. Each card was really a beautifully illustrated booklet with a poem. In 1934 Frost collaborated with Joseph Blumenthal on a greeting card/booklet based on his poem "Christmas Trees." It resulted in a series of cards that lasted until 1962 a year before his death. Many of Frost's cards featured woodcut illustrations evoking the New England landscape. Each card/booklet always featured one of his poems. 
In 1942 the card was a hand-colored illustration of a country village and the poem " The Gift Outright," which Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry and later recited it from memory at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.
In one of his 1953 cards he explained why the poem "Does No One At All But Ever Feel This Way?" was postmarked July instead of December. He thought the sentiments were more fitting for Independence Day instead of Christmas.  
Some of the information in the above paragraph came from an article titled Christmas in July by Holly Ramer featured in the Star Tribune, December 25, 2012 
Christmas Trees by Robert Frost
(A Christmas Circular Letter 1920)

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine, I said,
“There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north. He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you here with a Merry Christmas.

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