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Last week’s post, Beyond Misery Ridge, was my 100th since I started this blog two years ago.

Potatoes--a hundred? Perhaps.

Potatoes–a hundred? Perhaps.

I’ve been thinking about the familiarity we have with the number “100”, a number large enough for collections—of things like rocks or books, or music in whatever tangible or intangible form—but one hundred is also a stand-in when we’re talking, or writing. It’s a manageable number, not impossibly large like the National Debt or the number of years since the dinosaurs lived, but large enough to suggest a substantial mass.

Edward Thomas (1878-1917), in his poem The Lane, portrayed “a hundred sheep”:

To-day, where yesterday a hundred sheep
Were nibbling, halcyon bells shake to the sway
Of waters that no vessel ever sailed …

Alpine meadow near Hatcher Pass in Alaska

Alpine meadow near Hatcher Pass in Alaska

In Afternoon on a Hill, Edna St Vincent Millay (1892-1950) used “a hundred” to convey a meadow:

I will be the gladdest thing  
    Under the sun!  
I will touch a hundred flowers  
    And not pick one.

Time is also quantifiable. A hundred days makes a season, more or less, a duration of time we learn by our experience of months and years.

Cousins of time are speed and distance (which implies movement). A jetliner taking off, accelerating along the runway, for a moment reaches, and then exceeds, one hundred knots per hour.

Rugosa roses, day lilies, and dwarf fireweed in my Alaska garden, 2003.

Besides a measure of size and speed, distance and time, who doesn’t wonder how it might be to live 100 years? A span of time few people see but poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) wrote a message to the people of the next century.

In The Gardener 85, Tagore speaks to us—the readers:

“Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?”

Does it matter whether we are exactly a hundred years from Tagore’s time? Or is it like the flock of sheep or meadow flowers, where “100” represents ideas that are much larger than a number?

Tagore:

My Alaska garden, 2003.

Columbines in my Alaska garden, 2003.

“From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before.”

Fragrances and aromas are a powerful stimulant for remembering. Early on in this blog I explored this topic, the posts are collected under the tag: Memory.

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Moving forward into 2014, I have a lot of ideas for blog posts. We visited some interesting places around Bend in the last few weeks. The snow was too thin for skiing in the mountains so we went east and south into the desert where we climbed cinder cones and lava flows, and traversed an ancient (dry) river course where we saw a magnificent Rocky Mountain Goat high up on a precipitous rock-ledge. These will be topics for some future posts.

In the meantime, the Deschutes Land Trust has reposted my 100th post, Beyond Misery Ridge. If you have a chance, please check out the Land Trust’s website and for anyone who will be in Bend, OR during the summer, check out their (free) guided hikes!

Take care, and thanks for visiting my blog,

Katie

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The poems quoted above:

Afternoon on a Hill

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will be the gladdest thing  
    Under the sun!  
I will touch a hundred flowers  
    And not pick one.  

I will look at cliffs and clouds
    With quiet eyes,  
Watch the wind bow down the grass,  
    And the grass rise.  

And when lights begin to show  
    Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,  
    And then start down!

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/22274

The Lane
by Edward Thomas

Some day, I think, there will be people enough
In Froxfield to pick all the blackberries
Out of the hedges of Green Lane, the straight
Broad lane where now September hides herself
In bracken and blackberry, harebell and dwarf gorse.
To-day, where yesterday a hundred sheep
Were nibbling, halcyon bells shake to the sway
Of waters that no vessel ever sailed …
It is a kind of spring: the chaffinch tries
His song. For heat it is like summer too.
This might be winter’s quiet. While the glint
Of hollies dark in the swollen hedges lasts—
One mile—and those bells ring, little I know
Or heed if time be still the same, until
The lane ends and once more all is the same.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/22056

The Gardener 85
BY RABINDRANATH TAGORE

Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence?
I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, 
     one single streak of gold from yonder clouds.
Open your doors and look abroad.

From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished      
     flowers of an hundred years before.
In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one 
     spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years.

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174936#poem