Monday, April 25, 2016

my annual love affair

When we first started looking at houses together in Massachusetts, my now-husband would give me an address to look up; he'd say something like, "It's 1,600 square feet on a 12,000 square foot lot." I understand square footage in houses, but for land, "I speak in acres," I told him. After all, I'm the girl who grew up on the coast of Maine. I understand fractions — half an acre, a quarter acre, a third — but acre is my reference point.
After we were married, we put my house in Maine on the market and I moved into Paul's house in Lowell. It was a sweet little ranch on about 9,000 square feet (about a fifth of an acre for those of you who speak my language). At the end of our road, there was a golf club. A few streets over were businesses. We were two houses in from a busy road and within half a mile of two ambulance dispatch centers. It was far from peaceful for me, having spent most of my life roaming anywhere from 1 to 3 acres on the water.

Our second married Christmas, Paul bought me a DSLR — a digital single lens reflex camera. I had a decent digital point-and-shoot camera, but I really wanted the control over focus (and blur) that comes with different lenses. Almost immediately, I bought a macro lens. Focusing in on details, I saw a surprising amount of nature on our little plot of city land.

A gorgeous old maple grew in our backyard, spreading branches low enough that for the first time in my life, I noticed that maple leaves begin as flowers.

I got up close to a forsythia blossom and admired how the light shone through the petals.

Our neighbor to the back had a tree that exploded in delicate pink blossoms.

A dogwood tree grew in the front yard, and its branches were low enough that I could be on eye level with the blossoms.

One day I noticed water drops on a daffodil, and a new love was born: photographing water droplets.

And then I discovered weeping cherry trees.

A few years later, after both my house in Maine and the Lowell house sold, my husband and I bought a house together. We're blessed with both a magnolia tree and a weeping cherry. Heaven!

Each spring, I take my camera and stand beneath the cascading branches and blossoms.

This spring, however, there is not a single blossom. The tree has buds — but they're going straight to leaf. I blame our wacky winter and spring with heat followed by snowstorms. Our magnolia is almost as bad off; it has about 5 sad-looking blossoms.

In previous years, it was filled with blossoms.
And like the weeping cherry, the magnolia's branches are low enough that I can be on eye level with the blossoms.
Sometimes looking up is a gift, too.

My heart truly aches at the loss of my flowering trees this spring. To be surrounded by life and joy and beauty after the cold, dark days of winter replenishes my spirit. But I don't like staying down, so I found solace where I could. We have some spring bulbs blooming, and I cut a little bouquet to admire.

This spring is odd — odd weather, odd blooming patterns. Odd, too, because my husband is on strike and I'm contemplating a calling. Our comfort zone has been blown out of the water — so today I'm taking comfort in memories of my love affair with my flowering trees. I hope that if this spring is odd for you, that you too may find comfort here.

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