I love this picture I took last year of the new growth popping out of a dead-looking, dry-looking, thin, flimsy, gray branch. Where does this froth of new life come from after the long winter? The potential was there all along, the plan for new growth, the instructions inside the cells of the tiny, infant buds, and then when the conditions are right, the explosion of life begins. I was thinking this morning that there is so much more to a tree than meets the eye. That branch has connections. It abides in the rest of the tree, the tree has unseen roots that stretch deep into the earth. A tree is indeed its own entity, and yet, it is part of a bigger world. It has so many connections. They say that trees talk to each other, under the ground, sending out chemical signals to other trees, telling them when there is a stressor, a disease, an insect invader. Through these released chemicals they tell other trees to beware, to start their own chemical reactions to thwart the current threat. A tree has a history, an embryo nut that came from a mother tree who also had a parent tree. We too, have to stay connected in order to produce new growth, in order to keep life going.
Do you have a secret garden…a place you wander to in your mind? We’re hunkering down for another snow storm here, but tonight I’m thinking about this garden I visited near San Francisco and a fragment of a poem..”it’s always April in my mind.” Would you like to walk here with me in your mind tonight?
I had a summer vacation…imagine that! It’s been one of those summers that every middle aged woman probably has at least once in her life, but it ended with a nostalgic trip to the east coast with my sister and lots of wonderful green time and beach time. When I was around ten and she was twenty five, we trekked the hundreds of miles with my mother to visit her sister in Deltaville, Virginia and went back many summers after that. The green on the east coast is very different, very soft, sometimes dry, but laced with lots of water, inlets, marshes, and rivers emptying out into the sea, and of course the crashing waves of the ocean. This August we returned to Deltaville and then went on to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. I loved the tall pine trees, the grasses on the sand dunes, the light houses, the sunsets.
It was my birthday a few weeks ago, so I took myself on a special outing! I fell in love with farms a long time ago. My mother always said I should have married a farmer. Instead, I studied soils and plant science and spend most of my time with books. But, for this birthday, I went wandering in the countryside. Some nearby farms had tastings – ice cream, goat cheese, honey, popcorn, locally made wines- a wonderful taste of green!
I am usually delirious come May. I love one definition of ‘delirious’ I saw just now: a mad whirl of pleasure! That’s what May is, like a parade and a party in nature, all rolled into one. There is so much to see outside!
Today was the day….the green lace day! Just before spring’s canopy pops open like an umbrella, you can see the lace, if you look fast. In past years, I have been a little lazy, thinking “tomorrow I’ll get out and take in my fill of green lace, before it passes away”. Sure, I might notice it as I walk past a window, that intricate gossamere that slips out of plump, pregnant branches, the sweetest of light and airy greens, but I never quite “get out there” before the baby leaves grow up into adolescence. Except this year….this year I did it. I am currently unemployed, what a blessing! Of coures it didn’t feel like a blessing when it happened, but now that I am recovering, I am finding time for important things, like green lace. Today I took my Olympus out to see just exactly what these baby leaves look like, scattered in the woodsy understory or high up in the bedrooms of squirrels. Here is just a little taste of what I saw. By tomorrow, or the next day perhaps, the babies will be gone, but this year I kissed their sweet cheeks and looked them right in their little green eyes!