Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring (Tra-La!)

Yes, it is true. I love Gilbert and Sullivan, especially The Mikado, which my mom bought on a couple of 78 rpm vinyl records when I was preschool age. I learned all the songs, even if I didn't know what all the words meant, and they still make me smile, just like the beautiful flowers this time of year.  Japan and Washington DC have gorgeous cherry blossoms, but the palo verde trees of the Sonoran desert, currently in spectacular, passionate bloom here, can hold their own quite nicely.  I took this picture looking up into the gigantic, that is, much bigger than average, palo verde on the east side of our back yard.
Springtime makes the whole world young again, and tipping my head back to look up into those millions of blossoms I remembered another much-loved part of my childhood, my grandmother's beautifully bound 1906 copy of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I still have that book, with its wonderful illustrations (overlaid with thin sheets of tissue paper) and, unfortunately, a few crayon scribbles put there by my brother, or maybe it was me (to my shame, since I was taught early and well to respect and take care of books), with a beat-up cover and pages that have come loose from their binding. But it is still indescribably precious.
The best part, for me, was the way Hiawatha's grandmother, Nokomis, taught him about the world, about the origins and meanings of things in nature. This is how she explained the rainbow:

     'Tis the heaven of flowers you see there; all the wildflowers of the forest,
     All the lilies of the prairie, when on earth they fade and perish,
     Blossom in that heaven above us. . . .

That's what I think of when I look up into that glorious golden canopy, and I don't even mind the carpet of fallen blossoms on the patio and in the vegetable and flower beds.

     The roses are doing well, too, both the miniature ones in the flower bed by the front door and the bigger ones in the back yard, the climber whose blossoms change color as they age and the JFK rose my friend Charlene gave me when she had to move away. The blossoms on the JFK are the best they've been in the three springs I've had it.
     I harvested the last of the winter's kale last weekend.  The frosts improved the flavor and I wish it could last longer, but better to pick it now before the aphids get to it, as they always do sometime in April. The lacy leaves are as lovely as many flowers, I think.

In its place I planted eggplant, one of the crops that does well here in the summer (I also planted okra, pumpkins, and summer squash; the tepary beans can wait a couple of months yet). And so we plan ahead for the hot time, while taking time to enjoy what we have today.
     I haven't posted all my "poem a day for April" efforts, but here's what I wrote this morning in response to a prompt on Poetic Asides, http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/ , to write a poem in ten lines, each of ten syllables, which was a bit more challenging than I expected, especially as I got near the end.

I thought it would be easy, just to write
ten syllables, ten times, to capture a
moment perfectly in such a nice round
number, but getting caught in abstraction,
I found no image, only the yellow
cat curled up beside me, only the quail
calling outside my window to its mate,
only a potted plant needing water
and repotting, and the unforgiving
clock, saying that special moment was past.

1 comment:

  1. Vicki, what a treasure to have that old book, so lovingly protected. Brava! --V.