Monday, April 24, 2006

After the Rain

I took this picture in the backyard of my parents' farm on Easter Sunday, looking down towards their orchard.

This Sunday morning I was awakened by the singing of a Carolina wren. The bird was no more than 5 feet from my ear, and it was louder than my week day alarm clock. My bed is right next to my bedroom window, and the little singer was on the edge of a branch that nearly touches the window. The cats soon leapt onto the bed and pasted their little noses right on the window glass. After a few seconds of that my alarm clock flew away.

I’ve found some new species this weekend—wood thrush calling further down the mountain, barn swallows skittering around the old pond, a yellow-rumped warbler flitting from branch to branch, a zebra swallowtail.

The 2 inches of rain I got this weekend was all that the leaves needed to burst open. The summer canopy is filling in.

The redbud is currently having its annual moment of glory. And it is barely longer than a moment. The trees of the redbud are spindly and almost more like a stunted shrub than a tree. When the red buds are in their glory, that spindliness takes on an exotic, zen-like quality. But those little red buds soon open into leaves that are nothing special. The tree itself loses its appeal and instead looks like a tangled mess of edge growth, with no hint of its spring beauty.

The dogwood is also in bloom, though much diminished from a few years ago. A fungus that is sweeping the east coast is killing the trees, though a few still remain. At least for this year.

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