Seasons at Holly Berry House

There is something wondrous about the changing of the seasons at Holly Berry House. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I used my camera to capture its persona over the course of a year. Through this photo-essay in Poetry and Film, you can see how variations in the weather bring evolving faces to our beloved home.



“Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,
Lilac in me because I am New England.”
(Amy Lowell, Lilacs)


By mid-April, Spring flings itself with wild abandon over Holly Berry House. The weeping cherry tree at the main door rains a shower of pale pink blossoms all over the front lawn. Just in front of the white pine trees that hide the home’s front facade from Pequot Avenue, William Wordsworth’s “host of golden daffoldils” bloom each year, their bright orange flutes frilled by sunshine yellow petals smiling at every cheerful passer-by. The trees that ring our garden at the back start to sprout their foliage shyly, wide branches creating hospitable shelter for the many birds who will nest upon them. As the last vestiges of winter make their departure, forsythia  glows brightly in the hedgerows and the slumbering grass will burst forth green and spingy underfoot. It is a time of anticipation…a season of renewal.



“Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer’s lease hath all too short a date… “
(William Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII )

By mid-summer, Holly Berry House plays peek-a-boo behind a curtain of lush green foliage. The sycamores and the maples in the back garden are lavish and full, their leaves shrouding the houses on the hill behind us. The white pine tree border in front of the house has grown sturdy new needles , its cones fattening with each passing evening. There is a delighted new gaiety in our perennial flower beds as hostas and hydrangeas put on their flirtatious annual show of color. By late-summer, hosta fronds wave a gracious hello to passers-by while the plump globes of Nikko Blue hydrangeas compete for attention.



“Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run…”
(John Keats, Ode to Autumn)

Autumn paints the facade of Holly Berry House in a brilliant palate of warm hues. Blazing reds, scorching oranges, fiery russets, burnishing coppers envelope the house as Nature warms to the soft glow of the season. The sugar maples in our back garden change from green to gold before our wondrous eyes. As nights turn cool and birds fly south to warmer climes, a shower of golden pine needles and seed-laden pinecones pepper the front lawn each morning for the white pine trees must thin their branches in readiness for the weight of anticipated winter snows. The vigor of growth deserts the emerald lawns as the hosta bushes prepare for their winter slumber in a jaundiced camouflage.



“The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”
(Percy Byshe Shelley, Ode to the West Wind)

And so to bed…Holly Berry House lies asleep beneath a white blanket as Winter makes her pristine appearance. At the first signs of snow flurries, the barren branches seem to reach higher to receive a bounty of white flakes from the heavens. The sloping roof reflects the blinding glare of purest layers of fluff while frost leaves occasional diamond kisses on the quiet lawns. The tree have long lost their foliage revealing hidden nests of furtive birds that once called those branches home.  Shakespeare’s “boughs that shake against the cold…bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang” shiver gently in the brisk breezes and passing cars leave deep runnels in  virginal fallen snow.