This lonely insect had no sooner sounded its winter-boding note than the fond flower began sympathetically to wave and droop along those tarry slopes, as I have seen it on how many hill-side pastures! But this may have been only a transitory response to the cricket, and I cannot promise the visitor to the Roof Garden that he will find golden-rod there every night.
That whole scene comes out clearly for me in memory the arc of primrose sky over the trees behind the old house, the fruit-laden boughs of the orchard, the bank of golden-rod, like a wave of sunshine, behind the Pulpit Stone, the nameless colour seen on a fir wood in a ruddy sunset.
To many of us one stalk of golden-rod looks much like another, but a very little study will readily enable us to distinguish between the different species and will add wonderfully to its interest and charm.
The bees had thus found a spring or a cistern in their own house. Bees are exposed to many hardships and many dangers. Winds and storms prove as disastrous to them as to other navigators. Black spiders lie in wait for them as do brigands for travelers. One day as I was looking for a bee amid some golden-rod, I spied one partly concealed under a leaf.
"I like the New England roadside," continued Miss Pierce, with an apparent relativeness to the last subject that delighted Peter, who was used by this time to much disconnection of conversation, and found not a little difficulty in shifting quickly from one topic to another. "There is a tangled finish about it that is very pleasant. And in August, when the golden-rod comes, I think it is glorious.
In five minutes the whole family were seated round the table, with the lamp burning brightly above their heads. Bell came in triumphantly, bearing the mighty pickerel in their glory, on a huge platter decorated with green leaves and golden-rod. Hildegarde followed, flushed and sparkling, with her biscuits and coffee; and every one fell to with right good will.
The scent of the woods, and the peculiar aroma of a great yet unreap'd maize-field near by the white butterflies in every direction by day the golden-rod, the wild asters, and sunflowers the song of the katydid all night.
Anything which man has hewn from stone or shaped from wood, put to the uses of his pleasure or his toil, and then at length abandoned to crumble slowly back into its elements of soil or metal, is fraught for the beholder with a wistful appeal, whether it be the pyramids of Egyptian kings, or an abandoned farmhouse on the road to Moosilauke, or only a rusty hay-rake in a field now overgrown with golden-rod and Queen Anne's lace, and fast surrendering to the returning tide of the forest.
Among these Claude had found a little lawn, guarded by great rocks, out of every cranny of which the ashes grew as freely as on flat ground. Their feet were bedded deep in sweet fern and wild raspberries, and golden-rod, and purple scabious, and tall blue campanulas.
At noon we saw the first wheat-field of the trip an undulating golden flood, dimpled with the tripping feet of the wind. These were two joys quite enough for one day. But in the afternoon the third came the first golden-rod. My first impulse was to take off my hat to it, offer it my hand.