Saturday, May 28, 2011

We Have Lost Our Way

Weeping Willow beside an Ocean State Job Lot store On the other side of the fence is a forgotten Eden

I've been coming to this discount store for years and I've never given much thought to the weeping willow tree that grows just beyond the parking lot fence. But I've always noticed it and how out of place it looks ― in every season.

Tonight, something seemed different. Perhaps it was the full splendor of the tree in all of its green glory that underscored the incongruity of it growing there. Or, perhaps I am different. And the same. I've always seen what so many others miss. I decided to take some photos of the willow before I went in to shop.

As I walked out of the store I had a wider view of the tree and the chain link fence that separates it from the parking lot. The fence is completely covered with a thick mat of green vines. For the first time, I felt the need to walk over to the fence and peer in. There, hidden from the world it seemed, lay a forgotten paradise. I saw and heard a fast flowing tributary of the Neponset River running through a green arch so lush with trees that it is nearly dark inside. The "other" world fell away and I became part of this hidden one, alive with songbirds of every kind that seemed to know as little of me as I had known of them.

After a few minutes, I felt a great sadness well up. Who had allowed this sprawling strip mall to be built right up to the very edge of this precious place? Still, the willow had grown regal there on the banks of the rushing river. It was a sign of something more that I had missed for far too long. I realized that this tree has been calling to me for a long time, but I wasn't ready to listen. Tonight, I listened to the willow and I wept.

I thought about the exhaust fumes from the relentless cycles of shipping and receiving and shoppers coming and going seven days a week. I knew that once, this hidden jewel had been part of a vast tract of marsh and meadow land, impossible to fence off. Now the willow, growing on the edge of what is still intact, appears to be the problem when in fact, it is the solution. Driving home along Route 1 at dusk I spied two does grazing in the green grassy perimeter along Plainfield Brook, which runs near the highway. Once this wetland stretched for miles and miles. Now those miles have a name that is a metaphor for the oil consumption that is changing our planet forever: The Automile.

In my lifetime it seems to me that the natural world is fast becoming the ultimate outsider ― marginalized and misunderstood though still undiscovered by many. As humanity presses in and pushes nature aside, it grieves me to realize how much we have lost our way.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Runnin' with the pack

I've been too busy to blog these days, looking after these girls and having a wonderful time. Whether Rough or Smooth Coated, Collies are a joy to be with; they're sweet, fun loving and smart. Click on the photo to see how much fun they're having.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tips of tender green

Tips of tender green,
leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
that breaks forth underneath…

Friday, May 6, 2011

For a boy

My Rachmaninoff in the summer of his life

I love May, but I feel an old longing as it begins, for May is the month that my beloved Maine Coon boy was born. Remembering him today evokes a sense of gratitude for being in the right place at the right time all those years ago. Abandoned by his breeder and suffering from a severe respiratory infection, he was rescued and taken to a foster home. Terrified and still too little to be on his own, he tried to comfort himself by curling up inside a wicker wastebasket.

I wanted him the moment I saw him, took him home, then rushed him to the vet. The next morning I went to see him and was asked if I would try to get him to eat. "If he doesn't eat, he won't last much longer," said the vet. I held a spoonful of food up for him to try and promised I would never, ever leave him. He looked up at me and then began to eat. He ate one plate of food and then a second helping.

The little boy kitten who had almost given up lived on ― for 18 years ― and gloried in being outdoors in every season.
His spirit still lingers in the woods, gardens and mossy corners of this property. A tender soul, he was meant to be born in the tender month of May.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tender times of May: Foliage

In May, the lush growth of new foliage is tender to the touch and bursting with vivid green color.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tender times of May: Willows

Weeping willow (Salix babylonica)

In early spring willow wands awaken and begin to color, at first taking on a yellow hue with just a tinge of green. By May, the wands have turned a bright, kelly green and seem almost to vibrate with life.

These quintessential ambassadors of springtime soothe the senses and romance the spirit. Theirs is a tenderness that resonates with gentleness, sympathy and grace. Though willows are often associated with death and grief, they possess a very potent life force.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The tender times of May

Weeping Cherry (Prunus pendula)

It's May, the time for the tender and the new. Weeks' old calves are walking beside their mothers and experiencing the lushness of meadow grass for the first time, and the ethereal and ephemeral blossoms of trees such as this Weeping Cherry, with its graceful habit, have transformed the landscape into a fairy land.

Tender, green leaves emerging on the trees just beyond this Weeping Cherry signal that we are moving into mid spring now, when everything seems to be growing and glowing.