, Newburyport, MA

May 10, 2013

Meandering back roads and musing on seasons

Bill Plante'sNorth Shore
Newburyport Daily News

---- — There was that about the first of the week — the fresh morning air, the cloudless sky, the breaking through of springtime’s wonders that tempted me to put aside my other plans and seek spiritual infusion of the out-of-doors at no more than 30 mph.

If we are fortunate enough to take the time, the seasonal worlds we live in can be of our making. I could and I didn’t have to travel far.

Traffic being what it customarily is, I chose paths not taken by those in a hurry. My route was southeasterly from Newbury through back roads and side streets from Rowley to Ipswich to Georgetown, Byfield and return.

Most streets were wide enough for two.

I pulled aside to let those with other missions pass.

From time to time, I stopped for a minute or two to savor the air and the sun’s filtering in the morning’s soft southwesterlies.

Out of nowhere Bliss Carmen’s “ ... yellows and the purples and the crimsons keeping time ... “ came to ear, and I was briefly, once again and so very long ago, in Mynah Blanchard’s first grade and she was introducing us to where words can bring us.

Yes, Carmen wrote about autumn, but colors are there to savor in both spring and fall — interchangeable as they either dress for spring or disrobe in the falling of the year — each according to its specie.

In both seasons, there is that about the sunshine’s toning of colors that radiate within us.

There are callings we dismiss when on our way to other things. Yes, we find them refreshing, but then there’s the must-do destination down the road, and only so many hours in the day.

The world, otherwise, does clatter in upon us, and escape, such as it may otherwise be, usually entails planning, opportunity and wherewithal in order to “just get away”...

I wasn’t just getting away.

Our crabapple tree, now well beyond a half century of its planting and those others seen everywhere about have seldom been as flamboyant.

The linden tree gift from son, Andrew, two years back, is springing eager upward.

The perfectly shaped red maple planted by son-in-law Joe has taken root with gusto.

Daughter Suzanne has encouraged flowering and vegetable beds, inside or out, to show their colors, and they have done that with responsive exuberance.

As for that, so are the plantings by the great majority of those living along the byways of my hourly travel foremost and back, and I am certain Bliss Carmen would agree.

What is it with those from that other world so filled with grime and grind, I thought as I finished my journey.

I turned on my television and lo, there it was.


Bill Plante is a Newbury resident and staff columnist. His e-mail address is