Nature's Serial Storyby Edward Payson Roe
How much it means-what possibilities it suggests! The one I shall describe was built not far from half a century ago, and the lapsing years have only made it more homelike. It has long ceased to be a new object-an innovation-and has become a part of the landscape, like the trees that have grown up around it. Originally painted brown, with the flight of time it has taken a grayish tinge, as if in sympathy with its venerable proprietor. It stands back from the roadway, and in summer has an air of modest seclusion. Elms, maples, and shrubbery give to the passer-by but chance glimpses of the wide veranda, which is indicated, rather than revealed, beyond the thickly clustering vines.
It is now late December, and in contrast with its leafy retirement the old homestead stands out with a sharp distinctness in the white landscape; and yet its sober hue harmonizes with the dark boles of the trees, and suggests that, like them, it is a natural growth of the soil, and quite as capable of clothing itself with foliage in the coming spring. This in a sense will be true when the greenery and blossoms of the wistaria, honeysuckle, and grape-vines appear, for their fibres and tendrils have clung to the old house so long that they may well be deemed an inseparable part of it. Even now it seems that the warmth, light, and comfort within are the sustaining influences which will carry them through, the coming days of frost and storm. A tall pine-tree towers above the northern gable of the dwelling, and it is ever sighing and moaning to itself, as if it possessed some unhappy family secret which it can neither reveal nor forget. On the hither side of its shade a carriage-drive curves toward an ancient horse-block, with many a lichen growing on the under side of the weather-beaten planks and supports. From this platform, where guests have been alighting for a generation or more, the drive passes to an old-fashioned carriage-house, in which are the great family sleigh and a light and gayly painted cutter, revealing that the home is not devoid of the young life to which winter's most exhilarating pastime is so dear. A quaint corn-crib is near, its mossy posts capped with inverted tin pans much corroded by rust. These prevent prowling rats and mice from climbing up among the golden treasures. Still further beyond are the gray old barn and stables, facing the south. Near their doors on the sunny side of the ample yard stand half a dozen ruminating cows, with possibly, between their wide-branching horns, a dim consciousness of the fields, now so white and cold, from which were cropped, in the long-past summer, far juicier morsels than now fall to their lot. Even into their sheltered nook the sun, far down in the south, throws but cold and watery gleams from a steel-colored sky, and as the northern blast eddies around the sheltering buildings the poor creatures shiver, and when their morning airing is over are glad to return to their warm, straw-littered stalls. Even the gallant and champion cock of the yard is chilled. With one foot drawn up into his fluffy feathers he stands motionless in the midst of his disconsolate harem with his eye fixed vacantly on the forbidding outlook. His dames appear neither to miss nor to invite his attentions, and their eyes, usually so bright and alert, often film in weary discontent. Nature, however, is oblivious to all the dumb protests of the barnyard, and the cold steadily strengthens.
- Echo Library
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)
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