Blossoms and Leaves

Mon –

Still peekaboo through bare branches.  In no time at all, the green world will close in, and there will simply be walls of vegetation making a glimpse of water or even sky difficult.  Meanwhile, the spring bulbs take advantage of the fact that they have sunbeams to themselves for a little while.  Well, also the insects of course, although knowing what we do about ecologies and their dense interconnections, you need to wonder if any of the imported species have actually met compatible pollinators over here.

Each day is a little like a drag race.  Starts pretty cold, maybe high thirties or low forties, then races up the thermometer with the sun until, depending on the wind, air hits sixty or higher, only to fall back as afternoon grows late.  Always looks nice, but you can’t tell what to wear without actually going out for a few minutes, and then you’re not sure because if you turn a corner into shade or wind you may need something totally different.

Dandelions are so fine in April or March, and so much a pest by later summer.  In the beginning, they are cheerful little outposts of brilliance amidst almost endless brown dirt and dead stalks.  Through the magic of our thoughts, they transform into the deadly enemies of gardeners or of those seeking a magazine-perfect lawn.  Another victim of our ambivalent consciousness.

This year, it’s pretty late to be so early, so they are all the more welcome.  One of the few species that seems to be able to keep up with the ecological tragedy that is human effort.

Blushes of red and green faintly halo the trees beyond the reeds.  In a few days the crowns will fill in and branches will more or less disappear.  The sky seems impossibly blue.

Just another April day, a little cool, nothing that a poet would rhapsodize Our lives are filled with these “ordinary” moments that are all filled with miracles that we never notice.  Experience is so infinitely abundant and overwhelming that we too quickly retreat into small trivia we think we can understand _ like our jobs or fixing the house _ and waste the gifts all around.

These few weeks are demonstrations of microclimates.  Sheltered south-facing terrain is in full blossom, with some of the earlier species already past peak.  Sound-bordering northern slopes, exposed to the Canadian winds, are barely greening.  The maples here are in full bloom, but nothing else is willing to make an effort.  A half mile away, all the cherries are open and ready to be blown away with the next storm.

We too easily group everything together and call it “environment” or “nature’ when in fa
ct it varies tremendously.  “The environment” is made up of an awful lot of complex variables, which drives scientists nuts since they can’t control nor easily determine cause.  Unfortunately, that rarely cures their hubris.


Now the reeds are getting into the act.  Like pokeweed, they shoot up almost unnoticed in last year’s dry rubble until magically one day they seem to be everywhere and four or six feet tall.  That is always a lesson in how much I miss even when I am carefully looking.

Once the sun reaches a certain angle and a couple of warm days have gotten rid of all the left-over freeze, most annuals are dependent on soil warmth to germinate, and even those perennials which die all the way back do the same.  Trees and birds are slaves to sunlight length.  People _ ah people want it to be exactly the right temperature all the time.


In a few months, this parking lot will be filled with cars and children and sunbathers will be all over the beach.  Although this area is one of the least used, it’s convenience keeps a certain popularity, especially for small kids to play while parents gaze at the water.

Meanwhile, the cold and school limit visits during the week.  The cherry tree has made it through the blasts of winter unscathed even though the north wind continues to hold back all the trees along the horizon.  I can finally believe warm weather is just around the corner.


These little red leaves look innocent enough.  Just another cute reminder that spring is here, taking away the dull browns and whites of hibernation.  But of course this is poison ivy _ in this case a huge plant extending far up a tree by the side of the road, a constant hazard to people walking by.  Those who know better avoid it carefully.

Were it not for the effects of the sap toxin, it would be a lovely plant.  Shiny, bright green all spring and summer, gorgeous red and orange in autumn, cute whitish berries in winter.  Wildlife loves it.  But like any of our own internal fatal flaws, that one little factor makes all the difference in how we perceive it.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s