Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The bloom is on #phenology

I haven't managed to get organized enough to take pictures, but the past few nights, light from the near full moon on the pear tree blossoms has been ethereal. With luck we'll avoid major wind, rain, or hail storms until after the blossoms have been pollinated.

imagine this in moonlight
imagine this in moonlight
Photo by J. Harrington

This past week, I've noticed two very small snakes, one a red-belly and the other either a garter or another red-belly, each run over near the West edge of the gravel road. Those are the only signs of snakes we've seen around here so far this year. On the other hand, it seems to be shaping up as a banner year for ticks.

last June's lilacs
last June's lilacs
Photo by J. Harrington

The lilacs in St. Paul are blooming. I noticed that while I was doing a Mother's Day related errand this morning. I'll take a look a the wild lilacs up the road this afternoon or tomorrow. By the beginning of June last year they were in flower still but well past their prime, so now may be time to again relive my childhood days - when the Catholic school nuns would tell us that we shouldn't bring too many bouquets of lilacs because the smells made us all sleepy and lethargic. Personally, I believed it was the warm sunlight coming through the windows that was the sandman culprit, but I also was pretty sure back in those days I wasn't likely to win a debate with a nun.

There are so many trees and bushes blooming right now that I'm surprised all the air isn't weighted with fragrance. Blossoms of white and pink and pale plum and... other colors are punctuating the roadside fringes with beautifully harmonized accents. If I were as clever as I sometimes believe, I'd take cell phone photos now so I'd have the GPS position to go back in late Summer or early Autumn and check for fruit. Maybe that's what I'll do once this afternoon's showers pass through.

Lilacs on My Birthday



The flowerets look edible before they open,
like columns of sugar dots on tiny strips
I bought as a child. Hard to bite the candy without

some paper adhering, as adding machine tape will
to large, red numbers. Lilacs are like that: another year
unspools without major accomplishment,

while I question "major" and "accomplishment."
And when I find in Costco those clusters
of pointillist pastel, I hope they will become

someone else's nostalgia—honorable emotion
propelling Ulysses toward Ithaca, and a woman
to set lilacs in her dooryard as her mother did.


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