Ruin Before Winter

Ruin: to run headlong before collapse (from the Middle English, Old French, and Latin).

Today my step-daughter's visiting dog killed two of our six baby chicks.

Half our garden froze last night. The watermelons are dead, as are half the potatoes, half the Noir de Carmes canteloupes, pumpkins, winter squash, and summer squash. Untouched were the beets, the hardy lettuces, onions, carrots, turnips, beans, broccoli and cabbage.

The ruin of the fruit of summer is winter's boding.

I first took notice of the beautiful origins of the word ruin from a book on poetry by Harold Bloom. Blooms teaches us how Emerson's poem "The Rhodora" examines the concept of ruin in the natural world -- if beauty is fleeting, fragile, and exists only for a moment in time, does it matter? Do two chicks matter? Watermelons that never had a chance to mature? Emerson gives us the answer, haunting and sweet:

The Rhodora: Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Being Asked Whence Is The Flower
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the redbird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you


  1. KaWhamm - Ralph. Oh to be a poet such as he...speaking of which, I've been reading/thinking much about the subject lately. Some conference thing or such?

    Lovely post, mon.

  2. OH I mourn the cantaloupe :(

  3. You are a natural born blogger, Mr. Caleb. I wish you and your chickens well. Looking forward to more . . .