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Some Spring Days in Iowa   By: (1870-1940)

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Transcriber's Note: A number of typographical errors and inconsistencies have been maintained in this version of this book. They have been marked with a [TN ], which refers to a description in the complete list found at the end of the text.

Some Spring Days in Iowa

BY Frederick John Lazell





It is indeed a pleasure thus to open the gate while my friend leads us away from the din and rush of the city into "God's great out of doors." Having walked with him on "Some Winter Days," one is all the more eager to follow him in the gentler months of Spring that mother season, with its brooding pathos, and its seeds stirring in their sleep as if they dreamed of flowers.

Our guide is at once an expert and a friend, a man of science and a poet. If he should sleep a year, like dear old Rip, he would know, by the calendar of the flowers, what day of the month he awoke. He knows the story of trees, the arts of insects, the habits of birds and their parts of speech. His wealth of detail is amazing, but never wearying, and he is happily allusive to the nature lore of the poets, and to the legends and myths of the woodland. He has the insight of Thoreau, the patience of Burroughs, and a nameless quality of his own a blend of joyous love and wonder. His style is as lucid as sunlight, investing his pages with something of the simplicity and calm of Nature herself. The fine sanity and health of the man are in the book, as of one to whom the beauty of the world is reason enough for life, and an invitation to live well. He does not preach though he sometimes stops to point to a forest vista, or a sunset, where the colors are melted into a beauty too fair and frail for this earth.

Let us hope that the author will complete his history of the seasons, and tell of us of Summer with its riot of life and loveliness, and of the Autumn time with its pensive, dreamy beauty that is akin to death. He is a teacher of truth and good will, of health and wisdom, of the brotherhood of all breathing things. Having opened the gate, I leave it open for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.





"Has she not shown us all? From the clear space of ether, to the small Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning Of Jove's large eyebrow, to the tender greening Of April meadows?"

"And whiles Zeus gives the sunshine, whiles the rain."

A strong southeast wind is blowing straight up the broad river, driving big undulations up the stream, counter to the current which, in turn, pushes at the base of the waves and causes their wind driven crests to fall forward and break into spray. The whole surface of the river is flecked with these whitecaps, a rare sight on an inland stream but characteristic of April. We sit on a ledge of rock high up the slope of the caƱon and listen as they break, break, break. We may close our eyes and fancy we are with Edmund Danton in his sea girt dungeon, or with Tennyson and his "cold, gray stones," or with King Canute and his flattering courtiers on the sandy shore. But a song sparrow with his recitative "Oleet, oleet, oleet," followed by the well known cadenza, dispels the fancies and calls our attention to himself as he sits on a hop hornbeam and sings at half minute intervals. The wind ruffles his sober coat of brown and gray and he looks like a careless artist, thrilling with the soul of song.

Notwithstanding the high wind there is a heavy haze through which the sun casts but faint shadows. Across the white flecked river the emerald meadow rises in a mile long slope until it meets the sky in a mist of silver blue... Continue reading book >>

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