Every year the same calling comes to me (like last year — see here): stop everything I’m doing when the magnolias start opening their huge boat heart, and don’t go back to the workaday world until sometime past lilac season a month later. Yet every year, there’s also the wild build-up in March and full-on everything of April that pulls me many directions at once, this year from far western Kansas to upstate New York. This is largely thanks to the tyranny and blessing of poetry month, and the wonderful opportunities to share, read, write and discover the poetic power of language with many groups in many places. Meanwhile, the world is shaking its swag down every street and along every field.
So one must stop for 20 minutes here or an hour there to walk, look, take photos on one’s iphone, never being able to get enough of looking up trees to see the juxtaposition of sky and blossom. This year, the blossoms seem crazily multiplied and outrageously early, at least by two to four weeks in many cases: magnolias (now largely finished except for north-facing beauties), cherry blossoms, the ornamental barlett pear trees all naturalists love to hate, delicate peach and apple blossoms, forsythia, those springy tulips, and closer to the ground, my sweet but stunted hyacinths.
Some surprise me, like the trio of peace trees (see photo of me holding some of their blooms in my hand) that grew out of the compost pile, sported a few flowers last night, and now are a sweetheart orchard rocking bundles of pinkness. There’s also the white balls of the sweetest smelling blossoms I know coming to life just beside where we park our cars.
Some of the trees, bushes and flowers I visit are old friends, like this magnolia-raining set of trees flanking the side of Central Junior High, annual winner of Caryn’s magnolia proliferation award. Over the years, I’ve eked out routes through various neighborhood to catch beauty after beauty, and each year seems more dazzling than the last, maybe because it is, or maybe because as I age, my heart and senses do too, getting more sensitive and receptive to what life, despite all else, keeps giving us.