Spring is nature’s finest hour

Spring is a great time of year; it may very well be the most expressive season.
It’s certainly the most hopeful despite spring’s tardiness, besides its awakening of biting insects and crawling vermin that may very well desecrate the trees and their leaves.
But for now, in this moment, Mother Nature is celebrating one of her most beautiful displays of wonder. Perhaps spring is her finest hour.
The dandelions have sprung and the marsh marigolds, and it seems like the very rays of the sunshine are growing from the earth. I know most of you hate the dreaded dandelion, but I beg you to forgive my alliance with my favourite weed.
The blossoms are out, the lilacs and flowering crabapples, the cherry and peach and plums are all lit up with colour, filling the air with an aroma that cannot be matched—cannot be captured in a bottle and marketed.
For some, these natural fragrances cause increased sneezing and itchy eyes; and for these souls spring cannot be a lot of fun. But for me, I can’t get enough deep breathing while Gracie and I walk.
The colour of these new leaves is as varied as the shapes of snowflakes. It has been said that Eskimos have a vast number of words to give a name to snow, and I think the same goes for the spring greens we see in the trees.
The early soft green of the willows is the first hint that we have survived winter; the willows being the first to dress to celebrate this occasion called spring, with the maples as they burst first into flower.
Then the other trees start to follow suit, but with their own version of green, the larch and tamarac, until the poplars with their grey-white leaves that make the colour of the forest seem almost unreal; as if someone had painted what he/she saw.
Even the evergreens climb on the bandwagon with their fresh new green growth.
“Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” So said Pedro Calderon de la Barca born in Spain in 1600.
The fact that we still quote today what he said so very long ago confirms our relationship with trees and their green progeny.
We all remember some element of photosynthesis from early science classes, where we learned the green hue of the leaves is due to the levels of chlorophyll, or the proportion of chlorophyll with other plant pigments, that give us the variety of greens to try and put a name to.
I researched all the green names and when these words came into common use, and when Crayola boasted the addition of some of these green names to their pack of crayons. Such a lot of fun.
We have an old forest behind our house; a forest that, at first glance, looks a bit tired, many of the “elder trees” nearing death. The demise of these majestic seniors leaves room for the new trees to find space, to gather sunlight.
And the dead trees then become home to birds and a source of food for the woodpeckers, and they remain beautiful in their stately pose.
On our trail are a grand old oak and a mighty white pine, and the trail winds between them. David first suggested I embrace these monarchs and when I first did, I was amazed by the sensation of calm and peacefulness that flooded over me; as if the very cells of these trees told me all was well, to take comfort.
It was a powerful experience and I now make my daily stop there to embrace and congratulate and thank these trees for all they have witnessed, for those they have provided shade to, and whose branches has become welcome sanctuary.
Can the same be said of us?
wendistewart@live.ca

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