On a single night not even near to freezing

I’ve been thinking lots–no surprise–about how geologically and meteorogically active this whole country–this whole planet–is, and how almost (though not quite any) piece of land we stand on is, in local time or deep time or both, waiting to go, one way or another.

Which lead me to thinking about this Howard Nemerov poem: “The Consent.”

Nemerov taught at my alma mater, Washington University (in St. Louis), and was a commonly seen walking around campus when I was there. It was commonly assumed that he was thinking, in part at least, of the path leading to the library, when he wrote that poem.

One of the things I still remember fairly vividly from my time at WashU are those trees and their fan-shaped leaves, lining the walk, bright yellow in autumn, then suddenly bare–perhaps not in a single day, but in something that felt like it.

It’s maybe a bit melodramatic to say so, but through the years I’ve found I still think of that poem, and that path, when I think of things ending suddenly–perhaps not unexpectedly, but without warning, nonetheless.

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