May is Honeysuckle Time

When we think of the honeysuckle, we have mixed feelings. Invasive? Bee-filled danger. Sweet nectarous blooms. Scent of the newly hot nights of May.


For Philip Freneau, called “That Rascal” and “The Poet of the American Revolution,” The Wild Honeysuckle may have been the beginning of American Transcendentalism:

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy homed blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet:
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.

By Nature’s self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent soft waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.

Smit with those charms, that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died—nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts, and Autumn’s power,
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.

From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came;
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.

In Bluegrass, Honeysuckle can be a Rose or a band name.

For birders, Honeysuckle is a way to attract hummingbirds.

Children reading “The Fairy Night Caps” in 1861 learned:

Of course the elderly gentlemen fairies lounged among the honeysuckles, and talked politics, and quarrelled dreadfully about who should be the next President; for they took an immense interest in the affairs of us mortals; and the elderly lady fairies just as much, of course, pulled the characters of their best friends to pieces, without so much as a single regret; while the lovely young Queen, with half-a-dozen of her favorites, after dancing once, to set the fashion, ordered her pages to shake down a perfect shower of wild-rose leaves, on the edge of the hollow, of which they made soft and freshly perfumed couches; and there they listened to the exquisite music, and watched the dancers, and gaily devised plans for the comfort of our dear little friend, Lame Charley.

Sweet in all ways, save the invasive varieties, but now in season with the nectar ready to put to good use as sorbet and more.

Second April

Our feelings toward April are mixed. As Edna St. Vincent Millay writes in “Second April”

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots,
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Not that we don’t enjoy April — despite the pollen — and we love that life seems fresh and new. But sometimes we too need a bit of help with our collective buzz:

Doctor Fun - Bees that drink decaf

Our biggest ibiblio buzz is that former ibiblian, Gabriel Dance, was cited in this year’s Pulitzer Prize for his work on The Guardian‘s NSA Files: Decoded.

Spring Snow

Spring and snow. They should not come in the same week, but too often even here at ibiblio world headquarters, they do.

He suddenly wakes up and finds that he is impervious to the snow. Not only that, but it is speaking to him. He decides that he will write down the words of the snow, and, as he studies them, they gradually begin to melt, giving way to spring. After he has written down all that there is to know about the crystals they vanish completely, and people begin to awaken from their frozen slumber.
From a synopsis of Abe Kôbô’s 1951 short story, “Shijin no shôgai ” appearing as “The Life of a Poet” in English from the ibiblio Abe Kôbô site [Linked content no longer available]
As you might expect, Project Gutenberg has a large collection of various writings on the snows of springs past. But you may not realize that Spring Snow is also the subject of a contradance, a type of sturdy crab apple, a “New Light of Myanmar” article on ocean plant blooms,

1944, a C-46 transport plane flying over the Hump.
In Hyperwar‘s scan of the 1944 FM 70-10 War Department Field Manual for Mountain Operations, we learn:

New firn snow is compact, granular snow that is composed of closely associated grains instead of individual flakes. Heat-softened new firn snow is refered to as Spring Snow by skiers.