Does a tree exist alone?

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.

Secret Gardens

 

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?

This is Filoli:    a historical estate and botanic garden. 

Nature’s Beautiful Snow Sculptures

Driving home from my weekend in Peoria at my sister’s proved to be quite a challenge last Monday. When I hit Iowa City, Interstate 80 turned into an icy washboard with bumper to bumper trucks driving 2o mph. I learned how to drive on snowy roads in northern Illinois and just couldn’t see any reason to be going so slow, so I headed off to the north to take  the country roads and was rewarded with some beautiful scenery. I also got to check off something on my life list: visit the town of Belle Plaine. I love the area on I80 around the exits for Belle Plaine and What Cheer and have wanted to see these Iowa towns ever since I first drove to Ames from Indiana. The farmland here is so sensuously rolling, dotted with grazing cows and sculpted with contour farming. Not far from Belle Plaine, I even saw a winter rainbow to the side of the setting sun!