Wednesday, March 18, 2009


We left Teche country in the advent of Spring as azaleas, camellias, and Japanese Magnolias began to bloom, arriving here on The Mountain when the daffodils were the only flowers on the stark gray landscape. Since then, our roadside travels reveal many ornamental pear trees that show their spectacular white flowers along highways and in front of the post office on the main street of Sewanee. One of our friends here calls them popsicle trees, as they have this peculiar oval shape. The trees remind me of cherry trees in bloom, and I recall A.E. Housman’s poem from A SHROPSHIRE LAD: “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now/Is hung with bloom along the bough,/And stands about the woodland ride/Wearing white for Eastertide…”

The Bradford Pear tree, characteristically ornamental, is inspiring to view, but it has an unpleasant odor, and poets who approach it are hardly inspired to break into song about its merits. Although the tree is very disease resistant, it has a short life span of approximately 25 – 30 years, and may not adorn the post office yard many more years. While it lives, however, it announces Spring on The Mountain and certainly warmed my heart in the midst of all the heavy fog and cold this last week. In the Fall, the leaves of this tree are ablaze with shades of red before they fall and, thus, they announce the change of seasons with the same brilliance as they show in early Spring

For several days after arriving here, I longed for the Spring I had left behind in Teche country and scurried to the shelves in my bedroom to read some of the snippets that I had written about Spring flowers in my garden in New Iberia. It’s from the chapbook, JUST PASSING THROUGH, and I share it with you…particularly my good friends in Acadiana who revel in the lush Springs that occur in that part of the world.

Purple and plump blooms,
Lenten sprouts,

make Easter before Easter,
a path to sunrise.

Rain, hissing softly
on drooping mimosas
hides a lost hummingbird.

Lavender edges
silk on white carnation,

a hybrid of godfather’s creativity,
mirrors man’s ability to flower,

to seed a carnation incarnate.

Irises shadow the drive,
coulee brush swaying,

even the rose moving,
Spring approaching

in light green grass,
is thankful for its silence.

Flowers grow beside the glass porch,
along a fence of gray pine,

sidelines of color,
Zinnias, rock roses, daisies,

gifts to be taken in to enclose joy,
their lives shortened

because we so easily pluck things,
because we consume all we see.

Photos by Victoria I. Sullivan
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