The Lime-Tree Bower

All photographs (c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon

For one Christmas soon after we moved to my husband Jim’s ideal home, over the course of many weeks I painted for him a large bowl.  On the underside is a deep green-blue sea filled with cetaceans (I would not know my porpoises from my whales without having been educated by my children when they were young) and anglerfish, seaweed and coral.

Inside the bowl is a dove-topped ark crammed with pairs of animals no doubt ready to start families of their own.

Circling the rim is a snippet of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ode to the sea:

The Sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

Today I happened across another Coleridge poem that poetically dovetails with the sentiment I tried to express about now taking in the world for both of us–both the natural world and events which inexorably go on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many years ago I would have joined the universal chorus making fun of Barbara Walters for asking Katharine Hepburn, “If you were a tree, what tree would you be?”  But I have no problem associating any of my family members with flora or color.  One daughter would be sunshine yellow and wild daffodils; I would have walls of the deepest blue and be a cross between variegated bruised-indigo irises and bleeding hearts (for obvious metaphorical reasons).  If Jim were a tree, he would be a mighty and towering one–perhaps an oak– and if he were a color he would be green.

For the past few weeks I have been driven to try to capture images of green intermingled with sunlight.

The Lime-Tree Bower captures some of the same kinds of images I have become drawn to–of “transparent foliage,” of the sun at work, of heaven-lit leaves in the array of greens in which I always see Jim.

In this poem, Coleridge wrote from the perspective of being left behind–although in that instance it was merely temporarily, as his friends set out upon an expedition–and he imagined experiencing the world through others’ eyes:

A delight  
Comes sudden on my heart, and I am glad  
As I myself were there! Nor in this bower,  
This little lime-tree bower, have I not mark’d  
Much that has sooth’d me. Pale beneath the blaze  
Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch’d  
Some broad and sunny leaf, and loved to see  
The shadow of the leaf and stem above  
Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree  
Was richly ting’d, and a deep radiance lay  
Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps  
Those fronting elms, and now with blackest mass  
Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue  
Through the late twilight: and though now the bat  
Wheels silent by, and not a swallow twitters,  
Yet still the solitary humble-bee  
Sings in the bean-flower! Henceforth I shall know  
That nature ne’er deserts the wise and pure;  
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there  
No waste so vacant, but may well employ  
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart  
Awake to Love and Beauty! and sometimes  
‘Tis well to be bereft of promised good,  
That we may lift the soul, and contemplate  
With lively joy the joys we cannot share.

(c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

2 thoughts on “The Lime-Tree Bower”

  1. Your post reminds me of Lorca’s poem that starts “Verde que te quiero verde” which means “Green how I want/love you green.” I learned that poem a million years ago, and remembered the first line incorrectly as “Verde que te quiero verte” which means “Green how I want to see you.” My mistake badly alters a really great poem, but it makes me understand your post better – You see Jim in nature – in trees, in hikes, in birds, in the sky – in green. Such a beautiful tribute to him, and highly appropriate for my brother who loved to hike…and grow blueberries…and plant flowering trees.

    Additionally, no reply would be complete without a reference to music – and I am stuck in the “Clash” song “Spanish Bombs” which is about the civil war and Lorca. But the line for you is: “Yo te quiera infinito, o mi corazon” which was the Clash’s poor Spanish grammar saying, “I love you forever, oh my heart.”

    I want you to know that we deeply missed Jim at Mataunte’s wake and funeral. It was hard to believe that he was not there, and at one point I just turned around looking for him, thinking he should somehow be there. We grieve with you Steph.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: