“I Started Early–Took My Dog”

     This poem by Emily Dickinson was featured in The Writer’s Almanac last December.  Emily rarely disappoints no matter which poem you choose and hearing Garrison read it aloud resonated.   As I listened to this poem, I saw a truck carrying our town’s Christmas trees to Silver Lake where each year one floats on each side of the bridge that crosses this small lake.  

     I’d never seen the trees actually being set afloat so decided to follow the truck over to check out what the process was.  I doubted if there would be any “Mermaids in the Basement” of this unmythical lake, but maybe I would do as an observer.

     Much to my delight, the “floating of the trees” was a major production.  Two city workers were in a little boat while a crane lowered the dangling trees down to a bobbing  mini-platform.  There were road workers blocking traffic and a Dover policeman with his flashing partrol-car lights as one lane was shut down and traffic was merged into one lane.  I tried to capture the early morning scene with my iPhone but my vantage was not the best from a nearby parking lot. Quite the production was underway for this flotation especially since we were experiencing a cold Yankee clipper wind storm and the temperature was in the twenties.   The date was December 7 which also coincides with the same day in 1787  that Delaware signed the U.S. Constitution, the first state of the original 13 to ratify it. 

     At that point, I started to create a little poem (free verse format) about the tree’s arrival on the lake as a story for my grandson. I had hoped to have it ready for him to give to his classmates as a present for the Christmas holiday that we observe.  But that didn’t work out as the holiday season became overwhelming with the usual overcommittments of time.     So now, I’m trying to finish this poem/story and get it put together into a little booklet format.  Since he draws a lot and fairly well, maybe I’ll have him illustrate it.  That should be something fun to do as respite from the summer heat.  

     As soon as I get our book finished, I’ll let you know about the progress.  Maybe you will find inspitation in reading a poem and expand the idea to create a story for children.  Or maybe you’ll help a child create one.  Tis the season, after all, even though it’s like 80 today and winter’s blast, forgotten like “…Dew / Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve.”    Cheers.

PS – I found this interpretation of  “I Started Early–Took My Dog”  that I particularly liked.  Emily witnessed much from her small world, traveled so far with no match.

Floating of the Tree


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