A Winter’s Night

John Bartram Kirk R.Brown Olbrich Botanic Garden Madison WI

Like a tree in winter, I have been lean and drawn out.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day-to-day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”      Shakespeare Macbeth Act 5 , scene 5, 19-28

John Bartram Kirk R. Brown

Home is where the dreams lead you at the end of the journey

I have been away too long and missed the connection with HOME.  In the olde days, I would anticipate Ann on the porch with outstretched arms and a shout down the path of, “Welcome home to Bartram’s Garden…”

Walking up the Bartram's Garden path, Kirk R. Brown John Bartram

"Welcome home to Bartram's Garden!" always greeted me as I walked up the path to the house.

So all month I’ve said that I will post tomorrow.  And tomorrow.  and tomorrow.  Because of this month of travel that I have survived, I never reached the tomorrow of my dreams. 

I’ve seen sights and dreamed dreams.  I am an olde man, after all.  I have traveled to new worlds, met new friends and gathered a great many experiences about which I need to write.  And then I never preserved a moment to reflect on all of the opportunities that I passed. 

John Bartram Kirk R. Brown Horticultural Speaker

John is caught in a frozen moment in Madison Wisconsin

Where are the reminders of the sights?  What are the addresses of the friends?  How were the experiences praised or relived or examined? 

John Bartram at the crossroads

I have traveled many roads in the last month

How many were the times that I said I needed to note this thought?  How much was the value of the moment?  How many plants did I touch that I could not name?  What was the nature of the mission and what did I bring back to the safety and security of HOME?

The value of the plants that I discover is only as much as they survive the trip.  They need to be brought home alive.  So if it doesn’t survive the trip, did it actually ever exist?  Talk to the Franklinia alatamaha.  I never answered the question about that plant.  It ceased to exist in nature. 

Franklinia alatamaha

Franklinia alatamaha captured in a painting. Extinct in the wild.

It’s time to post.  It’s now a moment in the history of the world to capture the thoughts that were bright and sparkly in their passage.


6 responses

  1. Welcome home, John. Rest quickly because this month is quickly followed by another. The flowers will soon be on the trees and gone again, perhaps before the queen and her babes will have found them. I fear this may be the season of our lament.

    • And Spring arose on the garden fair,
      Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
      And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
      rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
      ~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

  2. Quoting John Bartram as Dr. Seuss at the WHPS Meeting on 2/15/12
    Re: the elusive Franklinia alatamaha
    “Is it on a rock?
    Can it take a knock?
    Is it in my hair?
    Is it over there?
    Is it anywhere?”

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