UP from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,
The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.
Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,
Fair as the garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,
On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain-wall;
Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.
From Barbara Frietchie by John Greenleaf Whitter
Morning broke coolly this morning; the thermometer's arrow pointing at 45 degrees. A perfect day to steam up the kitchen with a delicious, sticky mess of Rosemary-Peach jam.
In between parenting the tots and tearing through the pages of my ICPL Summer Reading Program prize, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, I blanched, peeled, and sliced a bunch of yellow Missouri peaches. Around lunchtime, I nestled four carefully selected twigs of rosemary into the sliced peaches and dropped healthy cups of granulated sugar atop the fruit and then, waited. And read ...
The Civil War has always held a peculiar spell over me. Maybe it's the Structuralist in me, but I can't help but love the juxtaposition of the North and the South, brother against brother, Industrial versus Agrarian societies, slave and free, united or divided. Shaara's narrative is a perfect realization of this juxtaposition. Again, I am spellbound by Shaara's descriptions of the perfect and necessary horror of that particular war. I keep thinking as one page leads to the next, "This is a great book."
I've stirred up the sentiments for a lost time in this year's jar of Rosemary-Peach jam. In a way, it's kind of fitting ... According to the Missouri Compromise, the South is only about 100 miles as the crow flies directly south of our house.