The wild cherries and and the plum trees are in full bloom this week. White, cream and party-pink delights are sprinkled along the roadsides near home. On the forest floor, last season’s leaves feed the soil.
I practice different ways of seeing Spring. The camera is part of that – when it surprises me, that too becomes part of seeing with new eyes.
Last week I went to a new-to-me public garden and found more Magnolia leaves that were skeletonized by insects; they make wonderful subjects. The one above must not have been tasty. It will disintegrate slowly and elegantly on a bed of dried ferns.
Pattern on pattern.
Purpleleaf Plum trees line streets with a haze of frothy pink flowers, held aloft by rough, angled branches.
The skin of the blossom, smooth and delicate as a baby’s; the skin of the trunk, gnarled and coarse like a grandmother.
Plum blossoms are an important symbol in Asian culture, and in particular, in the Zen tradition. The plum tree blooms very early, directly after experiencing harsh, cold conditions. Its simple five-petaled flowers give off a subtle, lovely fragrance. The plum tree has a powerful presence, at once rough, strong, fragile, intimate. Unstoppable.
Standing quietly under the tree
Gnarled, bruised bark,
Uncountable branches laden with pale, delicate flowers.
Fallen petals underfoot,
Viewed from three stories up, the early Spring woods is a complex web of intersecting lines.
Tens of thousands of buds
pepper every branch and twig,
moss clings wet and thick.
The forest is softening.
- At the Rhododendron Species Garden (about 30 minutes south of Seattle), an Asian species rhododendron leaf lies on a bed of ferns. From the garden’s website: “The Rhododendron Species Foundation & Botanical Garden is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the conservation, public display, and distribution of Rhododendron species. Home to one of the largest collections of species rhododendrons in the world, the garden displays over 700 of the more than 1,000 species found in the wilds of North America, Europe, and Asia, as well as the tropical regions of southeast Asia and northern Australia. Conservation has come to be of primary importance in recent years with the destruction of Rhododendron habitat in many areas of the world.”
- At the garden, a Magnolia leaf eaten by insects slowly disintegrates on a bed of moss.
- Magnolia leaf and moss.
- Magnolia leaves and moss.
- A Purpleleaf plum tree (Prunus cerasifera) near home. The Purpleleaf plum is common in and around Seattle. I thought they were Cherry trees but I just learned that they are a species of plum (in the same genus as cherries, apricots and almonds). This species was introduced to France from Persia well over a hundred years ago, and many different cultivars exist.
- A row of Purpleleaf plum trees glows like pink and white fizz.
- Purpleleaf plum blossoms.
- Purpleleaf plum flower with stamens full of pollen.
- The trees have grown into their own forms after years of neglect. Theirs is an untrammeled beauty.
- A softened and desaturated close-up of the woods – another way to see Spring.