Different seasons stimulate different senses. The Spring shocks the sight into recognizing colors that could only be imaged a few months prior. Early May is the apex of that stimulation with the simultaneous flowering of trees, shrubs and bushes. We get some teasers of color in early Spring with different colored crocuses or the blue of English bluebells or muscari. They emerge clumped in familiar beds and singularly in the lawn and other places where they were not planted by humans. They pop up, a singular colorful addition among the brown and grey surroundings.
Our American redbud is one of my favorite flowing trees as it covers its stems with tiny pink buds before shedding them for large heart-shaped leaves. The last few years were a flowery bust as 40 to 60 degree ups and downs of temperatures coaxed buds out early and them froze them off. So this year’s blooms were even nicer as we had a nearly ideal Spring of moderate temperature changes, good rain, and no surprise late freezes (so far.) The flowers appear almost as do orchids with a pair of winged extensions held together with a cylindrical pod before opening to reveal tiny stamen waiting for an insect visitor.
Small gnats and a few bees circle around the flowers looking for food as there are few other trees out this early though its neighboring crabapple tree is trying to give it a run for its money. Its blooms are larger albeit white, not nearly as colorful. However, their profusion and size ensure that they too attract many a pollinating bug. Together they offer a sign that winter is over and soon the green will return.
Both trees are still thin of vegetation and let the light shine though. This is the time of year when we have but a few weeks of light in the back yard before the trees fill in the empty spaces along the hill and sunny spaces into a muted twilight for the next six months.
Now we are in a transition between the colorful glory of early Spring and the soothing green of the summer. The green becomes more pervasive as spaces of patchy brown fill in with a more solid, lively color. It is ironic that only during the winter when things appear the coldest and the darkest does the back yard become flooded with light. Juana and I sit in the dining room for lunch as the sun warms us next to the wood stove. Now with the sun higher and greenery filling in the spaces, we will soon be thrust into a dimming warmth.
We have little to complain of as we are happy that our winter coats can be sent to the cleaners and shorts brought out revealing legs that approach the whiteness of the flowers on our crabapple. The days have become longer and we are getting used to more meals outside. The lawn has been mowed at least once. But in a week or so, many of these flowers will be an old memory, the heat will start to kick in and the only reminders of the winter will be the brown and gray decaying leaves that soon will be turned back into the earth.