I took a trip up to Londonderry, NH for a doctor’s appointment. The house that Robert Frost’s father, William, purchased for him and his first wife, Ilinor is located only 10 minutes away in Derry, NH. It was a working farm which Robert maintained for a few years during the years he lived there between 1900-1911. He would write poetry there which would appear in his first collection, A Boy’s Will and others that would come later. After the experiment with farming went fallow, he taught at nearby Pinkerton Academy, back then a prep school for boys. Much later in his life he would teach and have a major influence upon the Bread Loaf Conference at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Frost won four pulitzer prizes in poetry over his lifetime, supported his art in through teaching in higher education. And of course, he became even more famed when tapped by John F. Kennedy to write and recite a poem at the president’s inauguration. The poem entitled “The Gift Outright.” He died months before Kennedy’s assassination on January 29, 1963.
I think I may have seen the wall that inspired “Mending Wall” which appeared in Frost’s second publication, North of Boston. The wall was so unassuming, not unlike the poem. Walking along it, I saw parts where it was well constructed and others that were only two rocks tall. Nonetheless, it survived. The poem does too, because it has its strengths and people continue to care for it.
High school and college students, alike, should be grateful.
I may have also seen the apple tree that inspired “After Apple-Picking.” And more and more. The home itself was close to the road. The lot of land was a long, thin, grassy few acres with a small wetland-like pond. The lilac trees on the property were in full bloom. I asked myself, “was this too early?” and if so, how could these plants have flowered with the cool weather that has marked this Spring. The colors of the lilacs were bright, their aroma perfect. God’s touch can be found in nature.
It was a beautiful little side trip after receiving some overwhelming news. The wall, the flowers, the grass, and the home reminds me that I can endure, can be mended, and blossom in spite of a flawed existence, too.
Here are the photographs I took on iPhone. Enjoy!