During rainy summers like the one in Amherst this summer, anyone would characterize the area south of Emily Dickinson’s home on Main Street as “swamp.”  As Autumn continues with a lot of rain, there are acres where water stands for weeks, having saturated the dirt in high as well as the trimmed grass.  

Mosquito swarms multiply incredulously as they fill and refill acres of air space. Their search for warmth and sustenance from humans, includes me on my early walks. 

Of course, wild flowers and clover bloom again and again.  

So, I would add mosquitos to possible encounters in:

Sweet is the swamp with it’s secrets,

Until we meet a snake;

‘Tis then we sigh for houses,

And our departure take

At that enthralling gallop

That only childhood knows.

A snake is nature’s treason,

And awe is where it goes.

Swampy acres early in the morning is where I get my daily “fix” of misty sweet air. I swim in awe when walking out on a new day with its secrets. I’m always intoxicated by the promise of dawn.  It is easy to believe, ahead of responsibilities to tackle and schedules to meet later on, that awe is an imaginary land, a hidden universe. A world away called Awe visits in the night. The kiss of sunrise will kiss it away.

As I find customary in a Dickinson poem, there are opposites to be reckoned with.

“Nature’s treason” is strong language.  Especially when contrasted with the galloping innocence of childhood.  

A “natural betrayal” describes the outrage in my newly wakened spirit when insect bites intrude on the fragrances of dawn’s wild vegetation and I find myself cursing wildly at attacking mosquitos.  

I will be out there again tomorrow morning.  Seeking to know the secrets of the sweet morning air.

Digest a poem a day — Accept what comes your way

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