Time to Break Out

March 27, 2017

Magnolia buds

Magnolia buds, just about to break out into blossom

“Jailbreak”
by Maya Spector

It’s time to break out —
Jailbreak time.
Time to punch our way out of
the dark winter prison.
Lilacs are doing it
in sudden explosions of soft purple,
And the jasmine vines, and ranunculus, too.
There is no jailer powerful enough
to hold Spring contained.
Let that be a lesson.
Stop holding back the blossoming!
Quit shutting eyes and gritting teeth,
curling fingers into fists, hunching shoulders.
Lose your determination to remain unchanged.
All the forces of nature
want you to open,
Their gentle nudge carries behind it
the force of a flash flood.
Why make a cell your home
when the door is unlocked
and the garden is waiting for you?

Cherry tree, about to blossom soon

Here in Seattle, it’s too soon for lilacs.  But with our lat spring, we await the blossoming of the cherry and plum trees.  Any day now!

 

Inspiration for my latest painting -- a row of purple irises

Inspiration for my latest painting — a row of purple irises

Ado
by Mary Ursula Bethell

It grows too fast!  I cannot keep pace with it!
While I mow the front lawns, the drying green becomes impossible;
While I weed the east path, from the west path spring dandelions;
What time I sort the borders, the orchard escapes me.
While I clap my hands against the blackbird,
Michael, our cat, is rolling on a seedling;
While I chase Michael, a young rabbit is eyeing the lettuces.

And oh the orgies, to think of the orgies
When I am not present to preside over this microcosm!

IMG_6984

IMG_6985

IMG_6986

 

Multiplied Green

April 22, 2016

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

Metamorphosis
by May Sarton

Always it happens when we are not there —
The tree leaps up alive into the air.
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig.  But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.

Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here!

Dogwood tree

Dogwood tree

This is the season of the greening of the world.  Trees and bushes and lawns are in a range of green values.  Some trees are in full leaf.  Others are still emerging green.  And it’s true, you can’t ever seem to catch the exact moment when the green bursts forth.  Suddenly it’s just there.

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers

IMG_6804

 

IMG_6803

IMG_6802

Deciduous Spring
by Robert Penn Warren

Now, now, the world
All gabbles joy like geese, for
An idiot glory the sky
Bangs.  Look!
Now, are
Bangles dangling and
Spangling, in sudden air
Wangling, then
Hanging quiet, bright.

The world comes back, and again
Is gabbling, and yes,
Remarkably worse, for
the world is a whirl of
Green mirrors gone wild with
Deceit, and the world
Whirls green on a string, then
The leaves go quiet, wink
From their own shade, secretly.

Keep still, just a moment, leaves.

There is something I am trying to remember.

IMG_6806

 

“Every week, some unannounced low pressure front trundles in from the Pacific.  They come like a parade of newly widowed aunts.  All of them have weepy tales to tell.  They stay too long and are soon indistinguishable from one another.”
— Bill Richardson, Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast

IMG_6349

Cherry trees in the rain, U of W campus

IMG_6352

IMG_6351

This is Spring in Seattle!

 

Spring Progression

March 3, 2016

Watercolor sketch of plump robin

Watercolor sketch of plump robin

 

Another watercolor sketch of robin

Another watercolor sketch of robin

“The first phoebe-bird, the first song sparrow, the first robin or bluebird in March or early April is like the first ripple of the rising tide on the shore.”
— John Burroughs, from “The Spring Procession”

Signs of spring are starting to surge.  Let the procession begin!

 

 

Spring-like Weather

March 27, 2014

“After December all weather that is not wintry is spring-like.”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Winter:  The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8

Camellias

Camellias

IMAGE_3192IMAGE_3186

 

“The word APRIL comes from the Latin root, aperi’re, “to open. ” . . . Buds and birds burst forth from nature’s womb, the fallow earth steadily fills, and eventually we emerge from our sleepy state in March and break out of the house.”
— Amanda Hesser, from The Cook and the Gardener

After a few days of partly sunny weather, nature has awakened in Seattle.  So many things are bursting into blossom and bud.  You can’t beat Seattle in April.  Here are some photos from a walk around my neighborhood:

Backlit pussy willows

Backlit pussy willows

Wispy willow spreading seeds

Wispy willow spreading seeds

Unusual peachy daffodil

Unusual peachy daffodil

Sprightly orange centered daffodil

Sprightly orange centered daffodil

Fritillary buds

Fritillary buds

Fritillaries

Fritillaries

Fritillary buds

Fritillary buds

“Blossom by blossom, the Spring begins.”
— Algernon Charles Swinburne

Purple Leaf Plum (or possibly cherry) blossoms

Purple Leaf Plum (or possibly cherry) blossoms

“The plum blossom is coming and next door’s old pear tree is a perfect triangle of greenish-white froth.  They do this like a conjuring trick, the old trees.  They’re brittle and cronish all winter, then blossom issues out of them and fills the tree slowly, like a dancehall filling on a Saturday night.”
— Kathlleen Jamie, Findings

The flowering plum and cherry trees are bursting into bloom all over the city.  I found this purple leaf tree near the Quad at the University of Washington.  I’m not sure if it is a plum or cherry tree.  Regardless, the density of the blossoms is quite spectacular.

IMG_0161 IMG_0160IMG_0165 IMG_0163

The Last Day of Winter

March 19, 2013

“There’s no question winter here can take a chunk out of you.  Not like the extreme cold of the upper Midwest or the round-the-clock darkness of Alaska might, but rather the opposite.  Here, it’s a general lack of severity — monotonous flat gray skies and the constant drip-drip of misty rain — that erodes the spirit.”
— Dylan Tomine, Closer to the Ground:  An Outdoor Family’s Year on the Water, in the Woodland and at the Table

Moss-covered tractor, Whidbey Island

Moss-covered tractor, Whidbey Island

Lest you think I moan too much about the winter rain and gray skies, I am submitting today’s photo as proof that reality matches my glum outlook.  I saw this moss-covered tractor in a field on Whidbey Island.  This is what happens if you remain immobilized for too long during winter in the Pacific Northwest!  The moss takes over!

So it is with great anticipation that we greet the vernal equinox in Seattle.  It arrives in Seattle tomorrow, March 20th, at 4:02 a.m.  Welcome Spring!

Of course, Spring here is not without its April showers — and March, May and June showers, too.  But the longer days make a huge difference.  Still, as Emily Dickinson knew, Spring is an “Experiment of Green.”  The tractor might just be destined to stay a “green machine.”

Rain
by Frances May

Rain
on my window
Rain
on the ground
Rain
in the sky
Rain
all around

 

Multiplied Green

March 15, 2013

Spring's greening

Spring’s greening

Metamorphosis
by May Sarton

Always it happens when we are not there —
The tree leaps up alive into the air,
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig.  But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.

Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here!